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

Tuesday - November 24, 2009

From: Chatham, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for New York sloped area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm looking for native ground covers (vines?) for steep, heavy shale sloped areas as well as a ground cover in gently sloped area, preferably not higher than 6 inches. All that I've found is non-native to this area. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Here are some low-growing woody plants native to your area that would make a good ground cover under the conditions you describe.  I don't, however, know what your amount of sunight is.  You will need to check the "Growing Conditions" given for each species against the conditions at your site.

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Rubus pubescens (dwarf red blackberry) and more information with photos

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood)

Empetrum nigrum (black crowberry)

Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry)

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)

Grasses and/or sedges would also work well on slopes and are very effective in controlling erosion since their fibrous root systems hold the soil very well.  Their drawback, however, is that most are taller than 6 inches.  Here are a few of the shorter ones you might consider:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Deschampsia cespitosa (tufted hairgrass)

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)


Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Rubus pubescens

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Cornus canadensis

Empetrum nigrum

Gaultheria procumbens

Vaccinium angustifolium

Carex blanda

Carex pensylvanica

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Deschampsia cespitosa

Eragrostis spectabilis

Schizachyrium scoparium

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Low maintenance, native plants for sloping drive near Philadelphia
October 20, 2004 - My cabin is located in the northwest suburbs of Philadelphia. I am looking for low maintenance plants that would look good on the sides of a driveway that slopes upward. This is a potential project fo...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover or ornamental grass to plant under tree
November 09, 2007 - What can I plant under my tree as a groundcover? I would like an evergreen groundcover, how about ornamental grasses?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for under live oak in Mississippi
August 26, 2013 - I need a non-invasive ground cover to plant under my live oak.
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for East Texas
November 07, 2010 - I live in the country of east Texas and wish to grow native ground covers around my house and property. I have no way to control this growth, as I have no fences or borders. I have sandy soil and th...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers for California
September 16, 2009 - Can you recommend native ground covers for shade area to prevent soil erosion; the area is near an old California Live Oak.
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