Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 31, 2010

From: Hudson, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for a sunny sloped roadside in Ohio
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I am looking for a solution to a slope that cannot be easily mowed. Our yard is flat until you get about 15 feet from the road at which point it angles up to a small 5 foot area next to the road. I would like to find something low maintenance to plant that I could use in this 70'x10' area that can survive the amount of snow that it may get from overflow from the road yet still look nice if looked at from any angle. It does get about about 6 hrs of sun during the day. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

ANSWER:

You mention that the plants have to deal with snow piled on them by a snowplow so I imagine you are dealing with a certain amount of road salt as well.

Because of those conditions I would recommend not using shrubs (structural damage due to the snow load and salt damage, especially to evergreens) at all.

Your best bet are ornamental native grasses and prairie plants.  The grasses are statuesque enough to have the same visual impact as shrubs, are tough enough to withstand roadside conditions, have fibrous root systems to hold the slope and only need to be cut back once a year (late winter). They will also "stand" and look great througout a winter when you don't have too much snow.  The prairie perennials are typically deep rooted and drought tolerant so your planting will need very little attention once it is established.

Planting the perennials in drifts between the grasses will create a very pleasing effect from all views.

Here is a list of some Tallgrass Prairie Wildflowers and Grasses that should work for you.  Each plant has a link to a detailed information page on our Native Plant Database. You can find more plants for your garden by doing a Combination Search for Ohio and then selecting the plant type you are looking for (trees, shrubs, etc.) and your soil and light conditions. You can also find more information about Tallgrass Prairie and Savannah ecology (the ecosystem type you will be trying to establish) by doing and internet search.  This is one site you will find informative.

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly milkweed)

Anemone cylindrica (candle anemone)

Campanula rotundifolia (bluebell bellflower)

Desmodium canadense (showy ticktrefoil)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan)

Solidago juncea (early goldenrod)

Symphyotrichum oolentangiense (skyblue aster)

Verbena stricta (hoary verbena)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Removal of non-native zoysia grass from Burgettstown PA
September 12, 2013 - What is the most effective method of killing zoysia grass? We bought a house that sits in the center of four acres of mature zoysia. It looks beautiful, however, despite our best efforts at "weeding...
view the full question and answer

Grass for area under pecans in Abilene, TX
January 01, 2009 - I have two large pecan trees in my back yard. Grass has always been hard to grow under these two trees, but lately all grass seems to have "vanished" and I'm left with mostly bare soil. Is there ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for Kansas City
March 13, 2008 - I live in a Johnson county suburb of Kansas City. I would like to have a section on my yard be native grasses. Can I drive the country roads and dig up clumps of the grasses I like? Will they grow?...
view the full question and answer

Need native grasses to re-introduce on land in Live Oak County, Texas.
July 21, 2009 - How do I find out what type of grass is native and how to reintroduce it (once we get some rain)? The area is southern Live Oak County approx 10 miles north of Orange Grove TX, about 2 miles from Lak...
view the full question and answer

Submerged paving under lawn
September 07, 2008 - I had 4 patches of rectangular areas (about 4'x6'or more) in my lawn where the grass is fine in spring but totally dies in summer. I decided to till these bare patches so that grass may grow better...
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.