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

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: West Chester, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Need grasses to stabilize a moderately steep slope in Pennsylvania
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello. We have a moderately steep slope in a shady area that is in need of some help. The grass that is in place there seems to be thriving - nice and green, with good growth. However, kids running in the area, combined with the wheels of the landscapers' equipment, have torn up many areas. What is the best seed or combination to use that would provide (a) shade tolerance, and (b) a measure of 'toughness' that the steep slope requires? Keep in mind that we're located in Southeastern Pennsylvania - not far outside of Philadelphia.

ANSWER:

You didn't mention the kind of grass that is place, but let me begin by saying that Mr. Smarty Plants is into native plants, ie. those plants that are not only native to North America, but native to the area in which they are growing. This leaves out most of the turf grasses. For a moderately steep slope, we generally recommend some types of native grasses/sedges to help stabilize the slope with their fibrous root systems.

To get an idea of the native grasses/sedges that occur in Pennsylvania, go to our Native Plant Database Page and scroll down to the Combination Search box. Make the following selections; Pensylvania under STATE or PROVINCE, grass/grass-like under HABIT, and perennial under DURATION. Check Part shade or Shade (as appropriate) under Light Requirement, and Dry under Soil Moisture. Click on the Submit Combination Search button, and you will get a list of native grasses/sedges that are suitable for growth in your state. Clicking on each of the names will pull  up  its NPIN page which contains descriptions and growth requirements as well as images of the plants.

This is a short list of plants from such a search.  Our Suppliers Directory can be helpful in finding sources for the plants or seed.

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

From our Image Gallery


Bouteloua curtipendula

Carex pensylvanica

Carex blanda

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

 


 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Plants for steep embankment on the Missouri River in Nebraska
July 01, 2009 - Hi, My embankment along the Northeast Nebraska shoreline of the Missouri River is eroding the land away. Do you have any suggestions for seed I could throw over the side of the bank that would grow...
view the full question and answer

Is there any bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) in Austin, TX
August 10, 2011 - Hi there! Can you tell me if there is any Bahiagrass (Paspalum notatum) growing in the Austin area? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Annual ryegrass and Habiturf from Austin
October 31, 2013 - We've decided to put Habiturf in our freshly cleared back yard that was overgrown with sticky burs and crabgrass, but now that it is fall, would you recommend putting in a cover crop of annual ryegra...
view the full question and answer

Bunch grasses for labyrinth that are good for livestock
September 29, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm designing an outdoor labyrinth that will be in full sun in our black Slidell clay soil here in north central Texas. The area MAY be mowed for hay at a later date (i.e...
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