En Español

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
1 rating

Saturday - January 02, 2010

From: Solgohachia, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Septic Systems, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Raised beds over lateral lines in Solgohachia AR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to build raised flower beds over my lateral lines. They would be planted with strawberries and perennials. Will this cause any problems with the absorption into the ground or not letting it dry up?

ANSWER:

There shouldn't be any problem with raised beds over lateral lines; in fact, the moisture from the lines will probably benefit the plants you choose. When you say you wish to plant "perennials," your concern needs to be more with the roots of the desired plants. We usually recommend grasses to go over lateral lines, because they have fibrous roots that will not interfere with the lines. However, we assume that what you want are herbaceous blooming perennials. What you need to avoid are perennials that become woody, with extensive woody roots, which will interfere with the lateral lines.

From our Native Plant Database:

"Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry), native to Arkansas,  is a ground-hugging plant rising from a fibrous, perennial root system. Hairy leaf petioles, up to 6 in. long, each bear a single trifoliate leaf. The hairy flower stalk gives rise to a loose cluster of small, five-petaled flowers followed by tasty, wild strawberries. Found in patches in fields and dry openings, this plant produces the finest, sweetest, wild strawberry. The edible portion of the strawberry is actually the central portion of the flower (receptacle) which enlarges greatly with maturity and is covered with the embedded, dried, seed-like fruit."

Cultivated strawberries are hybrids developed from this native species and the South American one. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use, propagation and care of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. A hybrid, which is probably what you intend to use, falls outside our expertise. However, we are going to assume that the cultivar (cultivated variety) will also have fibrous roots and therefore be appropriate for planting over your lateral lines. 

We will go to our Recommended Species, click on Arkansas on the map, and then select "herb" (herbaceous blooming plant) under GENERAL APPEARANCE and "perennial" under DURATION. From this, we will try to select plants that do not become woody as they mature and that would be useful in your garden.  We do not intend this to be a list of plants you must use, but only indications of the kind of plant we recommend you use. You can make your own selections, using this same method, inserting specific site requirements for sun exposure, soil moisture and so forth.  Follow each plant link to our page on that plant to learn the expected size, bloom time, etc.

From our Native Plant Database:

Fragaria virginiana (Virginia strawberry)

Aquilegia canadensis (red columbine)

Callirhoe digitata (winecup)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera speciosa (pinkladies)

Ratibida columnifera (upright prairie coneflower)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Fragaria virginiana

Aquilegia canadensis

Callirhoe digitata

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Monarda fistulosa

Oenothera speciosa

Ratibida columnifera

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for streambank area in Oregon
September 14, 2012 - I am ready to replant a streambank area with native plants..what do you recommend for the Willamette Valley in Oregon? Thanks much!
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control for a Shaded Slope in Aliquippa PA
May 07, 2014 - What plants. shrubs or trees can I plant to retard soil erosion on a steep shaded hillside in PA
view the full question and answer

Removal of weeds in buffalograss mix in Houston
June 15, 2009 - I recently attempted to seed a small lawn area with a buffalo/blue grama grass mix, unfortunately for me the area has been hit hard with weeds. Is there an environmentally friendly method to reduce...
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix for Bastrop County, TX
February 25, 2014 - I plan to put in a small lawn on a tract of land near Rosanky, TX in Bastrop County. There are scattered oaks but the yard space will be mostly open. Soil is basically sandy. Is there a good native...
view the full question and answer

Procedure for planting buffalograss
June 30, 2009 - I would like to get a full schedule of events/actions for planting a lawn with buffalo grass. The area is already a lawn, though mostly weeds. It is June/July. First, cover area to be seeded with b...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center