En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 01, 2011

From: New Cumberland, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plants for a slope in WV
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I live in the northern panhandle of WV. We have a hill side in front of our home and are getting too old to cut it. What would be the best ground cover for it. We want something that looks good and will cut off weeds.It's not the best of soil, and is mostly full sun light. Thank you so much for your help !!!!

ANSWER:

Well, grass is still your best bet, but not turf grass that needs to be cut.  There are no rapidly spreading "ground covers" native to your area that will be dense enough to prevent weeds from growing.  The ground covers people conventionally use for that task (like ivy and periwinkle) are non-native invasive plants which we discourage people fom using.

Native ornamental grasses have fibrous root systems; making them excellent plants for a hillside and adapted to the dry conditions that are usually found on a slope.  It will take a while for them to establish, however, so you may have to pull weeds for a few years.  They do look great, especially when backlight by the late summer sun.

Here are a few to consider:

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

You could also mix in perennial wildflowers to brighten up the planting, and attract birds and butterflies such as:

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Coreopsis lanceolata (Lanceleaf coreopsis)

Echinacea purpurea (Eastern purple coneflower)

Monarda fistulosa (Wild bergamot)

Rudbeckia hirta (Black-eyed susan)

Symphyotrichum laeve var. laeve (Smooth blue aster)

Here are some photos fom our Image Gallery:


Bouteloua curtipendula


Panicum virgatum


Schizachyrium scoparium


Sorghastrum nutans


Asclepias tuberosa


Coreopsis lanceolata


Echinacea purpurea


Monarda fistulosa


Rudbeckia hirta

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for yard in Sweetwater, Texas
March 19, 2010 - What plants or grass would you suggest for an area that that is located on the east side of our house - full sun morning through noon, then it's shaded the remainder of the day.. Thanks!!
view the full question and answer

Lawn for a Shady & Wet area in Austin, TX
July 22, 2015 - We have a drainage area that has appeared in our back yard since the neighbors’ homes were built. When we get heavy rains (like this year) all their drainage flows into our back yard and forms a river...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a bank too steep to mow
June 24, 2009 - Like the inquiry made in late June of 2008, mine involves a bank that is too steep to mow. However, ours is facing south. I am looking for a native grass, plant or groundcover. Any suggestions? ...
view the full question and answer

Native Wildflowers and Grasses for Texas Acreage
April 15, 2015 - I recently purchased about 36 acres in Somervell County, Texas where cedar had been bulldozed and burned (many large spots). What would be the best native flowers or grasses to replant in that area? L...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for a sandy Maryland yard
June 10, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Severn (AA County) where we have sandy soil and on a well/septic system. Can you tell me a native grass I can seed in my yard? Something hardy and does not require a ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center