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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - November 13, 2010

From: Studio City,, CA
Region: California
Topic: Erosion Control, Shrubs
Title: Plants for steep slope in California
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Where do I find out about the specific root structure of various California native plants? Are there shrubs that have tap roots & hence are good for steep slopes? The genus of any such plants that you know of would be great. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Well, I'm not going to be able to give you a list of plants with descriptions of their root systems, but I am going to recommend that you read an article, Simple Erosion Control for a Hillside or Garden Slope, from Las Pilitas Nursery that specializes in California native plants with locations in Santa Margarita and Escondido.  They have a lot of useful information about controlling erosion and they offer lists of plants for slopes or you can use their search engine, MyNativePlants.com, to find plants that match your slope's characteristics.  They do recommend that you mix a variety of different plants on your slopes.  Here are some possibilities:

Most Arctostphylos species, for example:

Arctostaphylos pungens (Pointleaf manzanita)

Arctostaphylos patula (Greenleaf manzanita)

Many of the Ceanothus species, for example:

Ceanothus greggii (Desert ceanothus)

Ceanothus griseus (Carmel ceanothus)

And, a variety of other species:

Eriogonum fasciculatum (Eastern mojave buckwheat)

 Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus (Orange bush monkeyflower)

Salvia columbariae (California sage)

Salvia sonomensis (Creeping sage)

Cleome isomeris (Bladderpod spiderflower)

Dendromecon rigida (Tree poppy)

Purshia tridentata (Antelope bitterbrush)

You can find other suitable plants on our California-Southern Recommended list.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Arctostaphylos pungens


Arctostaphylos patula


Ceanothus greggii


Ceanothus griseus


Eriogonum fasciculatum


Diplacus aurantiacus ssp. aurantiacus


Salvia columbariae


Salvia sonomensis


Cleome isomeris


Dendromecon rigida


Purshia tridentata

 

 

 

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