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

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

Controlling switchgrass in Fredericksburg TX
June 12, 2010 - How do you kill switch grass..too much has grown on our property. Originally planted to stop erosion due to oak wilted trees lost on hill behind house, which worked,but now it is everywhere.
view the full question and answer

Full list of grasses for Connecticut from New York City
January 28, 2012 - Sorry, this is a followup to the native Connecticut grass query I sent half an hour ago. I see that it was asking for 'recommended species' that I ended up with such a short list of grasses (3). Th...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control in a Mid-Atlantic Shoreline
April 09, 2012 - My family owns a riverfront property off of Machodoc Creek which runs into the Potomac on the Virginia side. The water is roughly 3 feet deep at the shoreline and concrete cylinders are used to contro...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
view the full question and answer

Native Grasses for Quebec
August 21, 2014 - I saw an article in the Martha Stewart magazine on native grasses. I live in Canada in Rimouski, in the province of Quebec. I am wondering if native grasses would grow here in the region? Our hardine...
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