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
Not Yet Rated

Friday - September 23, 2011

From: Cambridge, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Plants to stabilize sandy slope in Massachusetts
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smartypants, I am working on a small public housing project in Chelmsford, MA, northwest of Boston. We have a steep, sunny and SANDY slope and I am stumped as to what to recommend that will stabilize the slope and be attractive as well. The slope is between 3:1 and 2:1. Many thanks.

ANSWER:

Grasses are a good place to start because their fibrous root system holds the soil effectively.  Here are some that grow in Middlesex County in sand and sun:

Bromus kalmii (Arctic brome)

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) is not technically a grass, but closely related.  This one is evergreen.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge) is another sedge that should work well.

Elymus canadensis (Canada wild rye)

Eragrostis spectabilis (Purple lovegrass)

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Sporobolus cryptandrus (Sand dropseed) and here are photos and more information.

A combination of some of the grasses above, mixing those of various heights and textures, with some of the following shrublike plants to give color and variety should be an attractive solution to your problem.

Artemisia frigida (Prairie sagewort)

Artemisia ludoviciana (Louisiana artemisia)

Achillea millefolium (Common yarrow)

Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly-everlasting)

Lupinus perennis (Sundial lupine)

 

From the Image Gallery


Arctic brome
Bromus kalmii

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Purple lovegrass
Eragrostis spectabilis

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Prairie sagewort
Artemisia frigida

Louisiana artemisia
Artemisia ludoviciana

Common yarrow
Achillea millefolium

Western pearly everlasting
Anaphalis margaritacea

Sundial lupine
Lupinus perennis

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Native plants for southwest exposure in Tulsa OK
April 24, 2008 - I want to plant something in a bed on the South side of my house with some Western exposure. The space is in a bed that would share space with a Red Tip Photinia (next to the house)& liriope( on the ...
view the full question and answer

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Destruction of Straggler Daisy in Austin
December 18, 2011 - I hate Straggler Daisy. Not to be offensive, but it appears from other posts on this site that you, Mr. Smarty Plants, and many others would like to treat it as a protected species. It is taking over ...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating silverleaf nightshade from Albuquerque NM
June 07, 2014 - I have silverleaf nightshade in my yard and would like to eradicate it (yeah, I know, good luck!) or at least control it. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Limonium limbatum
September 04, 2013 - I have a Limonium limbatum but do not know how to propagate the plant. Can you help with this?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center