En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - October 16, 2008

From: Minford, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grasses for sloped clay hillside in Ohio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have built a new home located on a hillside, our soil has a tremendous amount of clay in it. We have a sloped hillside that flows within 25 feet to the back door. The area is wooded and therefore shady. Should I plant the Kentucky 31/ Fescue grass on this hillside or should I go with something different to keep from erosion problems? Please advise which planting would be most beneficial and what type of plant recommended for our region. Thanks

ANSWER:

Fescue is not a native to North America, but was imported to the United States from Europe in the 1800's. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we specialize in plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. Plants already adapted to an area will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance. For general information on Fescue, of which Kentucky 31 is no doubt a named cultivar, see this article by Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist, Texas Cooperative Extension, Tall Fescue.

We would prefer to recommend native grasses for your shaded, clay slope. Their fibrous roots will help prevent erosion. We went to our Recommended Species section, clicked on Ohio on the map, and then used the Narrow Your Search function to indicate grass or grass-like for the Habit, and part shade for Light Requirement. We got a list of six grasses that are all perennial, and all will tolerate clay very well. You can follow the links to our webpage on each grass, which will have propagation information, projected height, etc. For further information on each grass, go to the bottom of the webpage and click on the link to Google on that plant. When you have selected a grass or grasses for your area, you can go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants in your general area, all with contact information. 

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)


Andropogon gerardii

Bouteloua curtipendula

Elymus canadensis

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Searching for nursery with yellow nutsedge in NC
January 27, 2014 - I'd like to plant yellow nut sedge as a cover to stop erosion in a lot. Where can I buy yellow nut sedge plants near Kinston, North Carolina? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping in Austin
August 24, 2009 - I am planning to convert a pretty large portion (app. 500 sq feet) of my front yard from St. Augustine to an area with native and well-adapted plants. I have solarized the area to kill off grass and ...
view the full question and answer

Assessment of Turffalo variety of buffalo grass (Bouteloua dachtyloides)
March 05, 2008 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, Now its March 2008, and your trial installation of Turfallo has had a year to prove itself; I'm interested to know your opinion of Turfallo Grass. There are such good e-c...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen perennials for a pond bank in Texas
June 18, 2015 - We want evergreen perennial plants for the banks of our small pond. The banks are eroding and we need to help keep them strong. We have ducks in the pond and lots of turtles. We would love something ...
view the full question and answer

Planting Habiturf in Houston, TX>
March 08, 2012 - First, I want to say thank you for such an informative site. You say that the Buffalograsses tend to do well in drier and well drained soil. My house has a lawn that drops about 10 inches in about...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center