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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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Thursday - April 06, 2006

From: Fort Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Xeriscapes, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Xeriscaping in clay on a slope in Fort Worth
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Xeriscaping in clay (Fort Worth) on a slope -- Please offer suggestions and publications. Thanks

ANSWER:

Since xeriscaping basically means landscaping with plants that can survive on normal rainfall, plants native to the Fort Worth area would probably do best for you, and there are many plants that do well in Fort Worth clays.

For a slope, grasses would be good because their fibrous roots hold the soil and help prevent erosion. A good regional grass with a great vertical form is Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium). For vibrant color against the blue-green of Little Bluestem, try flowers like Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium), Foxglove Penstemon (Penstemon cobea), and Winecups (Callirhoe involucrata). Local yuccas such as Arkansas Yucca (Yucca arkansana) and Pale-Leaf Yucca (Yucca pallida) would make nice accent plants. A local shrub with attractive fall color is Fragrant Sumac (Rhus trilobata), and the ornamental tree Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa) has pink blooms in the early spring.

Additional ideas for landscaping in the Forth Worth area can be found in Sally and Andy Wasowski's Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region. It contains both a Blackland plan (for black clay soils) and a Post Oak plan for North Texas areas dominated by Post Oaks.

For further species ideas, have a look at our Regional Factpack for your area. Our National Suppliers Directory can help you find sources for local plant material.

 

From the Image Gallery


Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Stiff greenthread
Thelesperma filifolium

Prairie penstemon
Penstemon cobaea

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Arkansas yucca
Yucca arkansana

Pale-leaf yucca
Yucca pallida

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Mexican buckeye
Ungnadia speciosa

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