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

Sunday - April 04, 2010

From: Moon Twp, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants to hold a slope in Western PA
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We have a hillside that keeps moving/sliding due to lack of vegetation. What kind of ground covering can we plant to help maintain and stabilize the hillside? If you need to know the climate here, we live in Western Pa.

ANSWER:

You don't mention what the light exposure of your site is, if you are in a rurual or suburban setting and if you are looking for something manicured and restrained or if you would like something a little more wild.

Whenever you choose a native plant, you have the opportunity to restore some of the habitat you have taken by putting your house on the land and to increase biodiversity on your site.

In general, soils on a slope are quick draining so you will be looking for plants that are drought tolerant and have fibrous root systems (like grasses) or spread by underground runners.  The plants you ultimately select will be dependant on what is available in the nurseries where you live, but you can create a wish list by visiting our Native Plant database. If you perform a Combination Search for Pennsylvania on that page selecting dry soil, your light conditions and then plant type (you can do separate searches for grasses, perennials and shrubs) it will generate plant lists for you.  Each plant has a link back to a detailed information page with images.

Here are some plants selected from those lists that should work for you.

Grasses

Ammophila breviligulata (American beachgrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Perennials (Herbs)

Anaphalis margaritacea (western pearly everlasting)  (this can be a vigoros spreader)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca (narrowleaf evening-primrose)

Tradescantia virginiana (Virginia spiderwort)

Shrubs

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)

Mahonia repens (creeping barberry)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)


Ammophila breviligulata

Bouteloua curtipendula

Panicum virgatum

Anaphalis margaritacea

Monarda fistulosa

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca

Tradescantia virginiana

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Comptonia peregrina

Mahonia repens

Rhus aromatica

Rosa carolina

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for a dry hillside in central Texas
March 07, 2010 - We need to plant some plants or grasses on a 3/4 acre sloaping hillside which does not get watered. Any recommendations for native grasses or plants which don't need care and will keep the lot from e...
view the full question and answer

Indiangrass by seed or plugs in Greenville SC
October 18, 2009 - Mr Smarty Plants, is it better to establish Indiangrass by plugs or seed? Seems you would get much quicker coverage by seed, tending to choke out "strangers". I'm establishing a small native mea...
view the full question and answer

Mowable sedge for Zone 5, New York
December 07, 2007 - My wife (who is from Austin!) and I have a house in New York, warmish Zone 5. We are seeking a grass-like groundcover for lawn areas ranging from full to partial shade. We have a well-drained hill n...
view the full question and answer

Planting creeping phlox for a groundcover
June 13, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Southwestern PA (zip code 15065). I have a small slope on my property that is hard for me to mow. I would like to cover it with creeping phlox, which I saw on t...
view the full question and answer

Special requirements for Density buffalograss in Austin
April 23, 2009 - Are there any special requirements for Density Buffalo beyond the requirements of other, more common, types of buffalo grass? Background: We live in NW Austin, and we recently installed density bu...
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