En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Ground cover for Connecticut sandy gravel bank

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

Wednesday - January 11, 2012

From: Hebron, CT
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Erosion Control, Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for Connecticut sandy gravel bank
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

What ground cover plant can I use on a sandy gravel bank behind my house?

ANSWER:

You can visit the Recommended Connecticut page to see a list of plants native to Connecticut that are commercially available for landscaping. You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to select by General Appearance, Light Requirement, Soil Moisture, etc.  From that list (and elsewhere) I found several plants that should work well as a groundcover depending on the light conditions of your slope. 

Sun = 6 or more hours of sun per day, Part shade = 2 to 6 hours of sun per day, Shade = less than 2 hours of sun per day

Sibbaldiopsis tridentata (Shrubby fivefingers)—sun in gravelly soils

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Kinnikinnick)—sun, part shade and shade in rocky or sandy soils, evergreen

Dryopteris marginalis (Marginal woodfern)part shade and shade in rocky soil, evergreen

Gaultheria procumbens (Checkerberry)—part shade and shade in variable soils, evergreen

Maianthemum stellatum (Starry false lily of the valley)—part shade and shade and likes sandy soils

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry)—part shade and shade and will grow in sandy soils, evergreen

Phlox pilosa (Downy phlox)—sun and part shade in sandy or rocky soil

Juniperus horizontalis (Creeping juniper)—sun and part shade in dry rocky soils, evergreen.  Here are photos and more information.

You can see more possibilites on the Connecticut Botanical Society webpage.

Grasses make good taller groundcovers that are excellent for erosion control because of their extensive fibrous root systems that hold the soil in place.   Here are a few suggestions for native Connecticut grasses:

Andropogon virginicus (Broomsedge bluestem)—part shade and will grow in dry, sandy soils

Bromus kalmii (Arctic brome)—sun and grows in sandy soil and rocky banks

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)—sun, part shade and evergreen

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)—sun and part shade in sandy soils

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Shrubby fivefingers
Sibbaldiopsis tridentata

Kinnikinnick
Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Marginal woodfern
Dryopteris marginalis

Eastern teaberry
Gaultheria procumbens

Starry false lily of the valley
Maianthemum stellatum

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Downy phlox
Phlox pilosa

Broomsedge bluestem
Andropogon virginicus

Arctic brome
Bromus kalmii

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants for erosion control in West Mifflin PA
November 23, 2009 - I have recently had a retaining wall rebuilt in my back yard and an above the ground pool installed. My lawn is uneven with no grass and the hillside is very dry dirt with rocks. What type of plant ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for creekside erosion control
December 16, 2006 - I need advice on what native plants I can use to slow erosion by my creek. The watershed for a large area ends up at my place, and nothing is growing where most of the runoff flows. I've got braken...
view the full question and answer

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Revegetating a hillside in western Washington state
October 10, 2012 - Removing several downed trees across my dock demolished the native plants growing on the hillside and the contractor pulled out their remains. The area faces east on an open freshwater bay. Close to...
view the full question and answer

Steep slope from Charlotte NC
May 03, 2012 - I live near Charlotte, NC and I have a very steep sloped area from the edge of our front yard down to the road. It's a huge eyesore mainly because it is red clay dirt and has nothing growing on it. W...
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