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

Sunday - May 28, 2006

From: Andover, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Native plants to preserve soil on river bank
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in eastern Massachusetts. We have a small stream in our backyard and a woodland area on the other side. Japanese Knotweed is pretty well established on the opposite bank of the stream from our yard and has a few clumps on the near bank as well. Garlic mustard is also growing like crazy too. I'm determined to remove the knotweed and garlic mustard on this side of the bank, even if it takes several years. My question is what to do about the bare soil. Because its a riverbank I don't want to leave it barren for fear of erosion. Can you suggest any native plants that would do well to help restore the bank? It is mostly shady with rich soil from the leaf litter. Thanks

ANSWER:

American Globeflower (Trollius laxus) would be a good plant for this purpose. Moreover, it is a rare species (threatened in Connecticut) and you would be helping to conserve it by planting it by your stream. You may have a difficult time finding a supply, however. You might contact the Center for Plant Conservation for information about propagating the species on your property.

Other suggestions for plants that would do well by your stream include:
1. Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
2. Beetleweed (Galax urceolata)
3. Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)
4. Canada Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
5. Any of the violets (Viola spp.) native to the northeast would also be a good addition to the area.

To find nurseries that special in native plants in your area you can search our National Suppliers Directory. Also, you might like to check the New England Wild Flower Society web page. They periodically have native plant sales.

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Can bluebonnet pods be gathered when green in Lockhart, TX
May 02, 2015 - Can bluebonnet seed pods be gathered when green? Will the seed be capable of germinating next season?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
view the full question and answer

Argemone pleiacantha for Houston
June 25, 2007 - Hey, Mr. Smarty Plants! Please allow me to offer a spell check on a plant that I inquired about last night. It's Argemone pleiacantha. I live in Houston, TX, and have been told that it will bloom ...
view the full question and answer

Container plant to grow in late afternoon sun
July 02, 2011 - I have a shaded brick walkway that leads to my front door. It faces west, and can get very hot late afternoon Houston sun, although it is shaded for the remainder of the day. I have been successful ...
view the full question and answer

Plant ID from Foster RI
April 05, 2012 - I have a weed flowering plant in bloom in a moist semi-shaded area. I would like to send a photo but I do not know how to upload.
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center