Explore Plants

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
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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)

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Winter care of native perennials in Austin
October 19, 2008 - Last spring I planted some wildflowers suggested by Deryn Davidson. they did extremely well. I planted-Gulf Muhly,Big Muhly,Red Yucca,Purple Cone Flower,Wine Cup, Large Buttercup And Mealy Blue sage, ...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for non-native maiden grasses from Fredericksburg TX
May 25, 2013 - I am trying to replace some maiden grasses that died during the drought. I want an evergreen grass or something soft looking to replace them. I want something that is native and 5 to 6 feet tall to ...
view the full question and answer

Restoring a prairie from Austin
January 11, 2013 - Restoring a mixed grass Blackland Prairie? Prairie Plant Succession? We are trying to establish climax species when an area is in a pioneering phase. Does the soil chemistry or biota change during ...
view the full question and answer

Ticks on native grasses in Katy, TX.
July 23, 2012 - Are there native grasses that are less susceptible to tick infestation than others?
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant plants for MA
August 28, 2011 - We have some very very poor soil at our house on Cape Cod and are looking for plants that will take low water and sandy soil. Also we are high on a hill and quite exposed to the elements. The plot get...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.