Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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 - July 03, 2012

From: Carmel, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Trees & Shrubs for a NY Slope
Answered by: Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Our community has a large steep slope (100'high by at least 600' wide) that is sunny & dry. The builders planted "wild flower seeds" on the slope that is now just weeds. We would like to know what shrubs and trees can be planted intermittently on this slope to make it more attractive. The only moisture it will get is from Mother Nature.

ANSWER:

Hmmm….  “Wildflower Seeds”<=>“Just Weeds”  Especially when not blooming, those two bear a strong resemblance to each other!   Nevertheless, you asked about shrubs and trees to make the slope more attractive, and since Mother Nature will be their only moisture, natives are definitely the way to go! 

Mr Smarty Plants recommendations often come out of the recommended species lists.  This one is for New York.   At this point one could limit the search to “shrubs” then “trees”  successively, but I choose instead to simply choose  “full sun” combined with heights “6-12”, “12-36” and “36-72” feet high.  This still left me with 20 candidates for you. The list following are ones I consider some of the better choices, roughly sorted by height. You still need to consider colors and configuration for the best effect.

Rosa palustris (Swamp rose)     6-8 ft.
Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry)  6-20 ft.
Asimina triloba (Pawpaw)          10-40 ft.
Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry) 20-30 ft.
Viburnum lentago (Nannyberry)   20-25 ft.
Ilex opaca (American holly)       25-60 ft.
Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)  30-40 ft.
Acer rubrum (Red maple)          40-60 ft.

As additional information that may help you choose plants to design your plantings, Mr Smarty Plants has had a few questions from your general area that might be useful to consider.  This question answer pair considers Trees for privacy, while this one discusses Deer Resistant Species.  Finally, for local information it is always a good idea to also consult with the local Extension Office.  This link is to the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County.

 

From the Image Gallery


Swamp rose
Rosa palustris

Swamp rose
Rosa palustris

Canadian serviceberry
Amelanchier canadensis

Pawpaw
Asimina triloba

Chokecherry
Prunus virginiana

Nannyberry
Viburnum lentago

American holly
Ilex opaca

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Red maple
Acer rubrum

More Trees Questions

Sticky film on oak tree leaves from Whitney TX
September 04, 2012 - What is the sticky film that is coating leaves on our oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow tree for Plano, TX
March 03, 2013 - I live near Dallas, Texas. I have a small Desert Willow tree that I would like to plant. What is the root system of this tree like? Would I be able to plant it near our patio? How far from the house'...
view the full question and answer

Young oak tree with dead branches
April 10, 2009 - I purchased my home new a year ago and we have three young oak trees that came with the house. Two of the trees are doing great and their new leaves have grown in. One tree however still has dead le...
view the full question and answer

Time to transplant shade tree seedlings from San Antonio
September 28, 2013 - What month do you transplant shade tree seedlings in San Antonio, TX<
view the full question and answer

Pruning guidance for Carolina buckthorn from Houston
October 23, 2012 - I have a Carolina Buckthorn in my back patio that I planted in fall 2001. The summer of 2003 the roofers dropped something off the back and broke the top 10-12 inches off. I have tried to train the la...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.