En EspaŅol

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
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

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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Special requirements for Density buffalograss in Austin
April 23, 2009 - Are there any special requirements for Density Buffalo beyond the requirements of other, more common, types of buffalo grass? Background: We live in NW Austin, and we recently installed density bu...
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Non-allergenic landscape in Fairfield, CT
April 18, 2009 - I live in Fairfield, CT and need to have a non-allergenic landscape. Can you please list plants, ground covers, and trees/shrubs that would be beautiful, and help in this critical situation? The lan...
view the full question and answer

Native turf grass for Austin
March 24, 2014 - I am installing a xeriscape landscape in my yard. It will be in full sun and I am looking for an alternative to turf, such as monkey grass. However, I am concerned about the light. Suggestions?
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center