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

Friday - March 19, 2010

From: Sarnia, ON
Region: Canada
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for a sloped pond bank in SW Ontario
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I'm looking for native (Southwestern Ontario, Canada) plants to slow erosion and provide a nice appearance on a mildly steep, 20 foot bank leading to a large pond. The bank faces west. And, are trees a possibility, given the mild nature of the slope? And if so, how close to the water's edge should trees be planted?

ANSWER:

This sounds like a challenging but very worthwhile project. It is a great opportunity to plant a "habitat" garden that will reflect the ecosystem of your area, improve the water quality of the pond, increase biodiversity and turn your pond into your best garden feature!

The plants you ultimately select and install will depend on the "sense of place" you are trying to evoke and the plants that are available in the trade, but we do have some suggestions.  The short answer is, you will want to select as many plants as possible with fibrous root systems (grasses, perennials, shrubs) and yes, you can plant trees if you choose ones that are adapted to that kind of environment (that is, you would find them growing near the water's edge in nature).

You will find the Evergreen.ca database a huge help.  You can search for Ontario plants that are appropriate for your conditions and it will generate a list for you. For instance, when I selected Ontario, native species only, pond edge/wetland and erosion control it generated a list of 32 different plants to choose from. You can change the search according to the plant type and other conditions.  As you select plants for higher on the bank, you will select drier soil conditions. You can also choose plants that attract brids and butterflies and make other specifications.

Although our Native Plant database does not have quite an extensive search function, you can do a Combination Search for Ontario, selecting the conditions of your site (first wet, for near the water and then dry for the top of the bank).

Here are a few from the list for wet conditions that are among my favourites:

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry)

Ilex verticillata (common winterberry)

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet)

Chelone glabra (white turtlehead)

Eupatorium purpureum (sweetscented joepyeweed)

Iris versicolor (harlequin blueflag)

Monarda didyma (scarlet beebalm)

Vernonia fasciculata (prairie ironweed)

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint)

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge)


Amelanchier canadensis

Ilex verticillata

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Physocarpus opulifolius

Spiraea alba

Chelone glabra

Eupatorium purpureum

Iris versicolor

Monarda didyma

Vernonia fasciculata

Calamagrostis canadensis

Carex stipata

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Buffalograss for Houston
July 08, 2008 - Will 609 buffalograss sod perform well in Houston, Texas? I am being told that it will yellow and get filled with weeds and that it won't handle the humidity. Is this all true? Help, please.
view the full question and answer

Wildflower meadow on former cattle pasture in North Carolina
May 17, 2005 - We have purchased approximately 7 acres of land in North Carolina. A neighbor has been using the land for grazing his cows, but I hope to plant it with wildflowers once we've built a small house. W...
view the full question and answer

Native buffalograss for Round Rock, TX
September 14, 2009 - Hi, I am wondering what the best Buffalo grass selection would be for Round Rock, Tx? I have about 400 - 500 Sq Ft that boarders the street that I would like to maintain as a natural type of environme...
view the full question and answer

Native turf grass for acreage in Denison TX
January 27, 2014 - I have recently moved to Denison TX where we have 5+ acres of true crosstimbers land. I am looking for a native turf grass that will do well in sandy soil and with the water provided by nature. The m...
view the full question and answer

Irrigation of landscaping project after 1 year in San Antonio
November 10, 2010 - Hello, I am working on a project in San Antonio where the following vegetation types have been specified: cedar elm, bald cypress, 'Tifway 419' bermuda grass, mountain laurel, esperanza, and lantana...
view the full question and answer

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