En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Sunday - July 10, 2011

From: Durand, WI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs
Title: Plant to stabilize river bank in Wisconsin
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live along the Chippewa River in Pepin County WI and are looking for a blooming plant to help "hold" our river bank and also look attractive..it must be strong enough to take the spring flood.

ANSWER:

Here are some small to medium-sized shrubs with attractive flowers and/or berries that should work well to hold your river bank.  You will want to get them in and well-established before flood season so that their roots will have grown sufficiently to keep them in place.  You might also consider some grasses along with the shrubs.  The fibrous root systems of grass are excellent at holding onto soil.

Shrubs:

Cephalanthus occidentalis (Common buttonbush).  Here are more photos and information.

Hypericum prolificum (Shrubby St. Johnswort).  Here are more photos and information.

Physocarpus opulifolius (Atlantic ninebark).  Here are more photos and information.

Spiraea alba (White meadowsweet).  Here are more photos and information.

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry).  Here are more photos and information.

Viburnum opulus var. americanum (American cranberry bush).  Here are more photos and information.

Grasses:

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

 Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye or canada wild rye)

Pascopyrum smithii (Western wheatgrass)

You can do your own search for plants suitable for stabilizing your river bank by choosing Wisconsin from the map or pulldown menu on our Recommended Species pageThis will give you a list of more than 170 native plants that are commercially available and recommended for landscaping in Wisconsin. When you reach the "Wisconsin Recommended" page you can NARROW YOUR SEARCH by making choices in several categories—General Appearance, Lifespan, Light Requirement, Soil Moisture, Bloom Time, Bloom Color and Height.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common buttonbush
Cephalanthus occidentalis

Shrubby st. johnswort
Hypericum prolificum

Atlantic ninebark
Physocarpus opulifolius

White meadowsweet
Spiraea alba

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

American cranberry bush
Viburnum opulus var. americanum

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Western wheatgrass
Pascopyrum smithii

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Buffalograss from Kensington MD
August 03, 2012 - Hi, I'm going to follow-up on the buffalograss question from Charlottesville, since it wasn't answered fully. I'm wondering the same thing: can buffallograss survive the wet conditions of the more ...
view the full question and answer

Looking for grasses for slope around retention pond in Florida
August 02, 2011 - I live in St. Petersburg, FL on a large retention pond. Most of my neighbors on the pond have seawalls. I do not nor do my neighbors to my left and right. I am interested in colorful grasses to put...
view the full question and answer

Need information about grasses for cattle grazing in Weatherford, TX.
September 16, 2012 - Need info on what I can plant for cattle to graze thru winter. grasshoppers and drought have decimated our coastal hay for past 2 yrs.Is there anything we can treat all the weeds with besides chemic...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for a prairie in southeast Texas
September 30, 2013 - We have a small place (about 100 acres) in Colorado County, Texas, on the Colorado River north of the town of Weimar. We are gradually clearing (bulldozing) the woods of cedars. One particular spot ...
view the full question and answer

Native alternatives to St. Augustine for under an Arizona Ash
October 12, 2006 - I live in Mansfield, TX. We have a large Arizona Ash tree in our back yard. No grass will grow under it. We are thinking of laying sod (St. Augustine) there. Is this a good solution and if so, whe...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center