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?


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

Tuesday - April 24, 2012

From: Hendersonville, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Rain Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Retention pond from Hendersonville NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford


We have a retention pond that has recently been cleaned and we would like to plant perennial native plant and grass seeds that will enhance the appearance and contribute to the natural process of filtration, hold the soil when water is rushing by and permit pollutants in the water to be filtered out. What time of the year should the seed be planted and able to stand generally wet feet?


From the EPA, here is an article on National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which is about retention ponds.

With that in mind, we have two very similar questions in our queue; one is yours from North Carolina and another is from Michigan. We suggest you read the Michigan answers for some background information:

Grand Haven MI

White Lake MI

Mason MI

We found a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question originating from Virginia which we think might have some information of use to you. There are some more links to further information in that, and instructions on using our Native Plant Database. Since we don't know if you want all grasses, how moist your soils are, how much sunlight they will get, etc, we think it would be better if you made your own plant list. Native grasses are certainly the best choice as their long fibrous roots will definitely help to hold the soil. As for the time the seeds should be planted (or plants if you are putting in some shrubs) is dependant on the part of the country. In Texas, we recommend planting grass seeds in mid-April, and hoping for gentle consistent rains, which we seldom get. If you go down the webpage on each plant you are investigating to the bottom you will see a list of Additional Resources. Click on "Search Google for ______ (plant name). Sometimes the webpage will have specific Propagation Instructions on it.





More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for a slope in WV
June 01, 2011 - 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 wi...
view the full question and answer

Ticks on native grasses in Katy, TX.
July 23, 2012 - Are there native grasses that are less susceptible to tick infestation than others?
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant plants for Paradise, California
January 23, 2009 - We are moving to a new home in Paradise, CA. What drought resistant plants do well in Paradise ? Thank you !!
view the full question and answer

Removing Center Stem From Desert Spoon (Sotol) in Phoenix
March 11, 2016 - I have a desert spoon. I hate the center stem. Can I remove the center stem without hurting the rest of the plant? And what is the best way to remove it? I looked for this answer in your questions bu...
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center