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

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

 

 

 

 

More Water Gardens Questions

Looking for grasses for slope around retention pond in Florida
August 02, 2011 - I live in St. Petersburg, FL on a large retention pond. Most of my neighbors on the pond have seawalls. I do not nor do my neighbors to my left and right. I am interested in colorful grasses to put...
view the full question and answer

Aquatic Plants for a Small Pond in Missouri
June 11, 2015 - We have a small backyard pond (4' x 5' x 2' deep) with a shelf for marginal plants, and a pump that feeds a nice little creek and waterfall into the pond. We don't really want fish, but we'd lik...
view the full question and answer

Deterring geese from a wildflower garden
February 28, 2015 - I've moved into a home with a large pond beyond the grass yard. I intend to plant a sunflower house with lots of other plants as part of the structure, such as flowering vines, clover, mint and thyme...
view the full question and answer

Plants for wetlands in Illinois
September 21, 2008 - I have a home that is just above a wetlands in Northern Illinois. It is on a river and the wetlands go from bone dry to under 3 feet of water. The shoreline is beginning to erode where there are no tr...
view the full question and answer

Tree with stilt roots for Louisiana bog garden
February 07, 2013 - Does Louisiana have any native trees with stilt roots? I would like one to go with my cypress and tupelo bog garden. I have several native plants such as spider lilies and blue flag irises, but I'm...
view the full question and answer

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