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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!

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Monday - July 02, 2012

From: Willits, CA
Region: California
Topic: Plant Lists, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Plantings for sides of retention pond in Willits CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for recommendations for ground cover for the outside of embankments which impound wastewater. This is to improve the aesthetics and deter weeds. The slopes are 1V:2H, so if we can avoid mowing or weed-eating that would be best. Low to moderate water demand would be desirable. Also, this is in full sun. The areas would be bounded by a variety of conditions: native grasses (wetland and upland), AC pavement, concrete, gravel road.

ANSWER:

We believe that you are talking about what we call a retention pond. This is a subject we have dealt with before in various parts of the country. Please read them and follow all the links to more information.

North Carolina -  This answer has many other links to both professional papers and previous answers.

We will take you to our Native Plant Database and give you a list of grasses native to the area of Mendocino County, California. To do this, we will use the Combination Search, entering California, grass or grasslike for Habit, and sun (6 hours or more of sun a day) for Light Requirements. You will then know how to use the database and can make your own selections, possibly selecting small shrubs or even herbs (herbaceous blooming plants) under Habit for variety. You will note on that Combination Search that you can select the Soil Moisture, expected height of plant and even bloom time and color. Each selection you make, of course, will decrease the number of choices you have. It's a great database, but the magic function is out of order. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant to learn the propagation, size and growing conditions of that plant.

Grasses for Mendocina Co., CA

Achnatherum hymenoides (Indian ricegrass)

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (Silver beard grass)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wild rye)

Nassella viridula (Green needlegrass)

Phalaris arundinacea (Reed canarygrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Typha latifolia (Broadleaf cattail)

 

From the Image Gallery


Indian ricegrass
Achnatherum hymenoides

Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Silver beard grass
Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Canada wild rye
Elymus canadensis

Green needlegrass
Nassella viridula

Reed canary grass
Phalaris arundinacea

Splitbeard bluestem
Andropogon ternarius

Broadleaf cattail
Typha latifolia

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