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

Tuesday - May 05, 2009

From: Tully, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover to reduce erosion for shady area in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live on a lake with gravelly and clay soils, lots of wind and little sun. I am looking for a native ground cover that will help reduce erosion over some of the steep slopes facing south (under shade trees)

ANSWER:

Grasses are ideal for controlling erosion on steep slopes because they develop extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil.  Most grasses do best in sun or partial shade. Your lack of sun limits the choice for grasses and grass-like plants (sedges), but there are a few possibilities.  I have also recommended some low growing shrubs and ferns that will tolerate clay soils.  All of the plants have been recorded in, or adjacent to, Onondaga County, New York:

GRASS/GRASS-LIKE:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Carex plantaginea (plantainleaf sedge)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

SMALL SHRUBS:

Chimaphila maculata (striped prince's pine)

Rubus pubescens (dwarf red blackberry)

Vaccinium pallidum (Blue Ridge blueberry) and photos

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Ceanothus americanus (New Jersey tea)

Epigaea repens (trailing arbutus)

Gaultheria hispidula (creeping snowberry) and photos

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Hypericum prolificum (shrubby St. Johnswort)

Vaccinium oxycoccos (small cranberry)

PERENNIAL HERB:

Maianthemum racemosum ssp. racemosum (feathery false lily of the valley)

FERNS:

Pteridium aquilinum (western brackenfern)

Osmunda cinnamomea (cinnamon fern)


 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Evergreen flowering shrub for San Antonio, TX
May 20, 2013 - Need a suggestion for an evergreen flowering bush, 3 ft tall for shady area by front door. Have gardenia bushes there now - did well until we had a hard freeze and have struggled ever since. Ideas ple...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, drought- and shade-tolerant plant for Pennsylvania
August 14, 2012 - Hello, I need a deer/drought resistant, shade tolerant, rocky soil perennial. I would like it to have some winter appeal. I live outside of Philadelphia, PA. Thank you so much for your time...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Alternative for sedges for turf-like lawn in shade
October 25, 2013 - When it comes to a turf-like lawn in shade, is it pretty much sedges or nothing among native options? By the way, I write from up north here in Iowa. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Native alternatives for Japanese maple
September 05, 2007 - Hi, I am a landscaper trying to create a landscape in a shaded area with no sun. The person likes a Acer palmatum, but I am not sure it will grow there. We live in South Lake Tahoe. So I know of some ...
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.