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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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Wednesday - April 20, 2011

From: Rocky River, OH
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Plants for a windbreak on a slope in OH
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

Have property at the top of a valley with a steep drop off. Would like to know native to NE Ohio ground covers, grasses perennials, and not too tall trees for windbreak that will prevent erosion. The site is windy half of the area is sunny, the other half shady.

ANSWER:

You will find some really helpful information in this publication by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It is very comprehensive and will guide you with planning and execution.  It also has plant recommendations for trees and shrubs, though not all are actually native Ohio plants. For more information about each plant you can visit our Native Plant Database.

There are no recommendations for herbaceous plants however, which can be excellent for erosion control. Grasses, with their fibrous root systems are especially good at holding a slope, as well as many of the  prairie wildflowers that are native to Ohio.  You can generate lists of plants by doing a Combination Seach on the database selecting: Ohio/plant type (grass or herbaceous plant)/and your light and soil conditions (depending on the location in the windbreak). Each plant name on the list is linked to a detailed information page.

Some recommendations from those lists are:

Grasses

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

 Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Perennials

Aquilegia canadensis (Eastern red columbine)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Liatris aspera var. intermedia (Intermediate rough gayfeather)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca (Narrowleaf evening-primrose)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Solidago canadensis (Canada goldenrod)

 

From the Image Gallery


Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Eastern red columbine
Aquilegia canadensis

American basket-flower
Centaurea americana

Lanceleaf coreopsis
Coreopsis lanceolata

Eastern purple coneflower
Echinacea purpurea

Intermediate rough gayfeather
Liatris aspera var. intermedia

Wild bergamot
Monarda fistulosa

Narrowleaf evening-primrose
Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca

Canada goldenrod
Solidago canadensis

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