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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.

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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.

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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.

 
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Thursday - May 24, 2012

From: Bracey, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Stabilizing a lakeside slope from Bracey, VA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are trying to beautify and stabilize a relatively large lakeside steep slope with a southern exposure in central Virginia. The soil is characterized by red clay and shale rock. How can we turn this into an attractive and low maintenance area that also serves to reduce erosion? Thank you in advance for your input!

ANSWER:

Not being anxious to overstrain ourselves, we found a Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer which addresses a very similar situation in Virginia. The previous answer is from Henrico County, north of Richmond, and not far from Mecklenburg Co., where you are located, on the southern border of Virginia with North Carolina.

We believe the advice about using grasses for erosion control in the previous answer also applies here. We are going to check each one we recommend to make sure it grows natively in the Mecklenberg County area, before we list it. You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to get more information on what kind of sun exposure it requires, projected height, etc. Or, you can go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search, search on Habit (grass or grasslike plants), stipulating the amount of sunlight, the moisture of the soil, even the height you would like.

Plants for Soil Stabilization in Bracey VA:

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)

Andropogon glomeratus (Bushy bluestem)

Carex stipata (Owlfruit sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Peltandra virginica (Green arrow arum)

Pontederia cordata (Pickerelweed)

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Bushy bluestem
Andropogon glomeratus

Awlfruit sedge
Carex stipata

Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Tuckahoe
Peltandra virginica

Pickerelweed
Pontederia cordata

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