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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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Tuesday - August 06, 2013

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.

ANSWER:

We just answered a very similar question, with one glaring difference - you are looking for shade plants, which may be a real problem. This time we are going to our full Native Plant Database so we will have more possibilities to choose from. We are in hopes that the draw gets some water from time to time and that will assist us in finding plants for your situation. Please read our similar question first, and then we will go to our database and, using the list of specifications on the right-hand side of the page, select on Texas, then "grass or grass-like" for Habit, "dry" for Soil Moisture and both shade (2 hour or less of sun a day) and "part shade" (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) under Light Requirements. After we run that search, we will run additional searches for the Habits of "shrubs" and "herbs' (herbaceous blooming plants) and see what results we get. We have given you 4 possibillities each for Habit. We suggest, since we really don't know enough about the environment where you propose to grow these plants, that you run the searches for yourself. Each time you select a plant, go to our webpage on that plant,  study its light and moisture requirements, then go down the page to Additional Resources. Click on "Find (plant name) in USDA Plants". When you get the map of North America, the green  states on that map record that plant as growing natively. Click on Texas and you will get a map with the counties green where that plant grows. This helps us, and we hope it helps you, determine if the soils, climate and rainfall in your area are appropriate to that plant.

Grass or grasslike plants for shade:

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge)

Chloris virgata (Feather fingergrass)

Melica nitens (Three-flower melic)

Nassella tenuissima (Mexican feathergrass)

Shrubs for Shade:

Acacia angustissima (Prairie acacia)

Aesculus pavia var. pavia (Scarlet buckeye)

Amorpha roemeriana (Roemer's false indigo)

Baccharis neglecta (False willow)

Herbaceous blooming plants for shade:

Ageratina altissima (White snakeroot)

Amblyolepis setigera (Huisache daisy)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed)

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup)

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Feather fingergrass
Chloris virgata

Three-flower melic
Melica nitens

Mexican feathergrass
Nassella tenuissima

Prairie acacia
Acaciella angustissima

Scarlet buckeye
Aesculus pavia var. pavia

Roemer's false indigo
Amorpha roemeriana

False willow
Baccharis neglecta

White snakeroot
Ageratina altissima

Huisache daisy
Amblyolepis setigera

Butterflyweed
Asclepias tuberosa

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

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