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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - September 13, 2009

From: Gladwin, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Water Gardens
Title: Plants for a pond bank in Gladwin MI
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our acre-size pond bank is sloped and high maintenance--needs mowed. We have lots of deer. We would like to plant a low-lying ground cover to eliminate mowing the bank--any suggestions?

ANSWER:

We will attempt to locate an appropriate ground cover for the pond area, but we hope you will also consider some native grasses and grass-like plants that do NOT need mowing. We will recommend some low maintenance plants that tolerate having wet feet and, because of their long fibrous roots, will help maintain the slope of the pond side, and control erosion of the banks. Many of these plants will hold their place year-round, and maintenance is pretty well confined to pruning the tall grasses down to about 6 inches, early in the Spring. They will self-seed and/or spread by rhizomes, provide nesting material, shelter and food for wildlife and be attractive. We will suggest perennial plants that are native to the area of Gladwin County, so you can expect that the soils, climate and rainfall will be appropriate for the plants you select. You mentioned deer being in the area, but we are unclear about whether you are for them or against them. We get many, many requests for deer-proof plants, of which there is no such thing-deer will eat your shoes if they are hungry enough. There are plants that are considered deer resistant but, again, if conditions are harsh and natural forage is scarce, deer will browse almost any plant they can gain access to. If you do NOT want deer assisting with your pruning, read our list of 344 Deer-resistant Species in our Special Collections. Follow each link below to the webpage on that particular plant to learn what size it is expected to be, what growing conditons and light requirements it has, and when it blooms.

Ground covers for a pond bank in Gladwin MI

Hydrocotyle americana (American marshpennywort) - pictures from Google

Viola affinis (sand violet)

Viola sororia (common blue violet)

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox)

Grasses and grass-like plants for a pond bank in Gladwin MI

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)

Eriophorum angustifolium (tall cottongrass)

Juncus torreyi (Torrey's rush)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani (softstem bulrush)

Typha latifolia (broadleaf cattail)

From the Native Plant Image gallery


Viola affinis

Viola sororia

Phlox divaricata

Andropogon gerardii

Carex blanda

Carex vulpinoidea

Eriophorum angustifolium

Juncus torreyi

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Schoenoplectus tabernaemontani

Typha latifolia

 

 

 

 

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