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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 24, 2009

From: Charlottesville, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs
Title: Plants for a bank too steep to mow
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

As it happens, Mr. Smarty Plants just answered a question from another Virginian looking for groundcover for a steep bank so I can pass those on to you.  Since I don't know your sun/shade situation or you soil type, you will need to compare those to the Growing Conditions listed for each suggested species.

Phlox subulata (moss phlox) grows in sun and part shade, is evergreen and spreads quickly.

Phlox nivalis (trailing phlox) would also be good.

Artemisia ludoviciana (white sagebrush) is semi-evergreen and grows in dry soils.

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood) requires moist soil.

Mitchella repens (partridgeberry) grows in part shade and shade.

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick) grows slowly.

The following are grasses and a sedge.  If you are having trouble with, or have had, erosion on your slope, grasses with their fibrous roots are very good at holding the soil:

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill) grows in part shade and shade.

Muhlenbergia cuspidata (plains muhly) grows in sun.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) grows in sun and part shade.

You can find more possibilities for grasses by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database and selecting Virginia from the Select State or Province category, 'Grass/Grass-like' from Habit (general appearance) and choices to match your site from Light requirement and Soil Moisture.

If your site is sunny, then Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) might be ideal for it since does not grow tall and requires little watering.  Here is more information about buffalograss from LawnCare.net.


Phlox subulata

Phlox nivalis

Artemisia ludoviciana

Cornus canadensis

Mitchella repens

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Muhlenbergia cuspidata

Carex texensis

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Evergreen hedge for NY
February 26, 2012 - I am looking for a native evergreen shrub that could be used as a hedge or privacy screen on the Rockaway peninsula in Queens county. It is a beach community with sand soil ( except where it has been...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a moist, wooded area in North Carolina
December 06, 2014 - I am looking to plant some native flowers in a wooded area in Surry County NC. The chosen location is fully shaded beside a creek. The water table typically sets about 2 feet below the surface of th...
view the full question and answer

Montana native plants to create a garden with edible plants
January 14, 2013 - Hi Smarty Plants We are looking to create a native herb, vegetable, root, fruit, flower and ground cover garden for the area of Hot Springs, Sanders County, Montana. Our zone is 4 and soil is mostly ...
view the full question and answer

Hearty, bushy native plants for windowboxes in Abilene, TX
October 08, 2005 - I live in Abilene, Tx and am a horrible gardener. I would love to have window boxes with some sort of hearty bushy plant. Any suggestions, I'm at a total loss...? Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Mountain laurels with insect problems in Bandera, TX..
April 30, 2012 - I have 3 mountain laurels about 8 yrs old. Suddenly about 3 yrs ago worms started decimating them. This yr I got dipel dust which works great but only for two weeks. I now have small red flies and ...
view the full question and answer

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