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 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)


Andropogon gerardii

Elymus canadensis

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Asclepias tuberosa

Anemone cylindrica

Campanula rotundifolia

Desmodium canadense

Monarda fistulosa

Rudbeckia hirta

Solidago juncea

Symphyotrichum oolentangiense

Verbena stricta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Horse pasture seeds from Pawling NY
April 19, 2013 - We are getting ready to seed an area to be used as horse pasture some time in the future. What seed mix should we use to create an organic horse pasture in Pawling, NY. Ideally there would be some wil...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control from Lakeland FL
November 03, 2012 - What native Ground cover is best for erosion control on slope of lake-front? Prefer not too invasive for this northern facing area behind a seawall and near large Oak tree.
view the full question and answer

Plants that will grow in clay in North Carolina
March 14, 2008 - I have a small fenced back yard, predominately hard red clay, that is a major focal point. I am designing my own garden/yard area (to cut cost) and have a list of plants that will grow in this soil w...
view the full question and answer

Identification of native grasses little bluestem and switchgrass
August 09, 2007 - If you drive east of Austin on Hwy 71, there is a bluish looking grass that has become very noticeable since the heavy rains in July. The blades grow straight up and each plant is in clump form. Do ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade, poor soil in Park Ridge NJ
June 17, 2010 - Hello! I live in far northeast New Jersey, by the New York state border. I am looking for plants for areas of my lawn that nothing currently grows in - due to shade and poor soil quality - very rocky,...
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