En EspaŅol

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
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

Tuesday - March 19, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Shade Tolerant
Title: How to stabilize a slope under Red Oaks?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

A portion our front "yard" (20x40 feet) is a limestone hillside shaded by 3 large spanish oaks. The small amount of grass holding onto the hillside is now gone from the drought, and the hill has eroded down to rock and roots. My questions are: 1. How to stabilize the slope without damaging the tree roots; eg, if terrace, how deep can topsoil be added; use of rock versus soil/mulch; mesh or other means to keep the soil in place. 2. Once the hillside is stablilized, what drought resistant grass or plants can tolerate full shade and require little maintenance. Thank you for any help!

ANSWER:

With more than 8000 questions and answers (as of March 20, 2013) published in Ask Mr. Smarty Plants, many questions have been answered already.  A particularly good answer to a recent question covers most of your issues regarding shade-tolerant ground-covers.

Terracing is an effective way to reintroduce soil to an eroded slope.  The amount of soil you can add will depend on what you wish to keep growing there.  In general, you should add no more than one inch of soil around the trunk of trees or shrubs.  However away from the trunk and especially down hill from a tree, the soil can be deeper.  Terraces on steep slopes usually require construction of retaining walls using rocks, masonry or timbers.

For complex projects, we recommend hiring a licensed landscape architect or a certified landscape professional.

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Low maintenance grass for shade in Conroe, TX
September 15, 2012 - What is the best low maintenance grass to plant in front lawn shaded, no traffic area?
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for shade in Boone NC
July 05, 2011 - I have a totally shaded area with tall trees and want to plant some native shade wildflowers beneath the trees. It is fairly level. I'd like perennial flowers. I noticed Flaming Azalea was one opti...
view the full question and answer

Native vine for shade on west side in Texas
July 21, 2008 - I have just put in a trellis to cover the west side of my house for shade. What would be the best native vine to put their for quick growth. I plan on putting a rose (Fortunia) but can't do that till...
view the full question and answer

Disagreement with HOA on raised beds placed beneath mature oak from Tequesta FL
April 05, 2014 - I have mature 30 year old oak trees on my property and I put a raised bed under each with very good soil and I used pavers for retaining the soil about about 1.5 ft high. I planted a perennial begonia...
view the full question and answer

Plants for under live oak in Houston
July 09, 2011 - Hi, We have a live oak in our back garden in Houston and would like to plant a combination of some native shrubs and flowers near it (preferably perennial). The garden bed is about 4 metres from the...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center