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

Grasses for Pennsylvania
July 18, 2013 - What type of grass does the best in my area?
view the full question and answer

Advice on grasses under walnut trees
May 28, 2010 - Little advice on grasses: I am prepared to plant zoysia under two walnut trees. Forgot about juglone-is this a good idea?
view the full question and answer

Narrow strip of groundcover from Sonora TX
April 29, 2013 - I have an area that is right under my patio about 12 feet by 1 ft. I'm looking for something to plant in there. It has afternoon sun, morning shade. I live in SW Texas so it is hot. but would like so...
view the full question and answer

Need Native Cover Crop in Seguin, TX
October 11, 2010 - Is there a native winter cover crop that would control erosion until spring vegetation takes over?
view the full question and answer

What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
January 11, 2009 - I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
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