Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
3 ratings

Monday - May 04, 2009

From: Blairsville, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for steep hill in Georgia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have a large steep hill with only clay and rocks on it in the North Georgia Mountain area. What is a good Native ground covering to put on this for erosion? Something that grows fast preferably. We do not want grass.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is sorry you won't consider some grass in the erosion area. Native grasses are an excellent choice for controlling erosion because they develop extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place.  Depending on how steep your hill is and the extent of erosion, you might want to consider using a erosion-control blanket to stabilize the erosion area so that the seeds can get a better chance to germinate and become established. The erosion-control fabric works by slowing the runoff water and allowing sediment to fall out rather than be washed away. Seeds are sown under the erosion-control material and grow up through the matting when they germinate. Underneath the matting the roots of the plants growing through the erosion-control material anchor the soil to stop the erosion. If you use erosion-control blankets made of biodegrable material, they will eventually disappear leaving the plants to control the problem.  Seeds can be sown under an erosion control blanket or grass plugs or other plants can be planted through the blanket.  Here are some low-growing plants (generally less than 3 feet) that are known to grow in Union County, Georgia, or in adjacent counties:

GROUNDCOVER:

Artemisia ludoviciana (white sagebrush)

Chimaphila maculata (striped prince's pine)

Chamaecrista nictitans ssp. nictitans (sensitive partridge pea)

Comandra umbellata (bastard toadflax)

Hypericum buckleii (Buckley's St. Johnswort)

FERNS:

Dryopteris marginalis (marginal woodfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)

Pteridium aquilinum (western brackenfern)

SHRUBS:

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Hypericum hypericoides ssp. hypericoides (St. Andrew's cross)

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

GRASS/GRASS-LIKE (in case you change your mind):

Aristida stricta (pineland threeawn)

Bromus kalmii (arctic brome)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)


Artemisia ludoviciana

Chimaphila maculata

Chamaecrista nictitans ssp. nictitans

Comandra umbellata

Hypericum buckleii

Dryopteris marginalis

Osmunda cinnamomea

 


Pteridium aquilinum

Ceanothus americanus

Epigaea repens

Gaultheria procumbens

Hypericum hypericoides ssp. hypericoides

Hypericum prolificum

Aristida stricta

Bromus kalmii

Carex pensylvanica

Chasmanthium latifolium

Eragrostis spectabilis

Muhlenbergia schreberi

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Kinnikinnick for a green roof
July 04, 2012 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live just north of Seattle and want to build a green roof (outdoor kitchen) I'm concerned about the weight of the soil (saturated), drainage etc. am building from scratch and...
view the full question and answer

Compatibility of mixed ground covers with St. Agustine grass
March 04, 2015 - My husband and I live in Northwest Austin. We have removed lawn from our front yard and replaced it with mulch and some trees and other plantings. We would like to replace the lawn in our backyard ...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
November 01, 2011 - I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant groundcovers for erosion control
September 26, 2012 - I need a ground cover (vine??) that will help me with erosion on a sloped front yard. It gets about 6-8 hours of sun and my main need is for something that the rats in our neighborhood will not destro...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for a slope in MA
April 04, 2010 - We live in Eastern MA. We have a hill behind our house that was previously mulched. Slope is 45 degrees in direct sun, clay soil. We have another hill by the road side that is partially shaded with ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.