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

Saturday - November 09, 2013

From: Quincy, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Plant Suggestions for a Partly Sunny Steep Bank in Illinois
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking to plant something on a steep clay bank on our Illinois property. It is on the edge of our dirt road with trees above the bank and is partly sunny. What would work best for that type of area?

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants for your partly shady steep bank is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Illinois, Habit – Shrub, Duration – Perennial, Leaf Retention – deciduous, semi-evergreen and evergreen, Light Requirement – part shade, Soil Moisture – moist (even though it is a steep bank, moist is selected because of the clay soil). These search criteria will give you 72 native plants to consider. You can narrow down this search further by indicating a shrub size, blooming time and bloom color too if you like.
Some of the plants that are included in this search are:
Aesculus pavia (scarlet buckeye)
Amorpha fruticosa (indigo bush)
Amelanchier stolonifera (running serviceberry)
Cornus alternifolia (alternateleaf dogwood)
Ilex decidua (possumhaw)
Lindera benzoin (north spicebush)
Photinia melanocarpa (black chokeberry)
Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)
Rosa acicularis (prickly rose)
Spiraea alba (white meadowsweet)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (coralberry)
Viburnum lentago (nannyberry)

If you are considering using Illinois groundcovers with your shrubs or trees, Mr. Smarty Plants has already put together a list of plants to consider in this previous question.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet buckeye
Aesculus pavia

Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

Running serviceberry
Amelanchier stolonifera

Alternateleaf dogwood
Cornus alternifolia

Possumhaw
Ilex decidua

Northern spicebush
Lindera benzoin

Black chokeberry
Photinia melanocarpa

Fragrant sumac
Rhus aromatica

Prickly rose
Rosa acicularis

White meadowsweet
Spiraea alba

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Nannyberry
Viburnum lentago

More Trees Questions

Shade trees not toxic to dogs in Kempner TX
August 21, 2013 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants, we are looking for shade trees to plant around our home in Kempner, Tx. I saw another family that asked a similar question but we have dogs and holly or oak trees are toxic (my...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees over septic tank in Killen AL
May 20, 2013 - Our church has 5year old blue rug juniper, a crape myrtle and two shrubs I can't identify planted over the septic tank which is surrounded with concrete and asphalt. I am afraid these will cause a pr...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of desert willow in Wimberley TX
August 10, 2010 - I have a desert willow. It is always, whether I water it or leave it alone, yellow/ brown leaves, dark spots on the leaves, losing leaves. now it looks sad and not very healthy. Can you please tell m...
view the full question and answer

Identification of red leaf tree with wispy, feathery plumes on top
June 25, 2009 - I am looking for the name of a red leaf shrub/small tree that has feather like, wispy plumes which grow out of the top most branches. I do not have a photo. I live in Canton, MI.
view the full question and answer

Native trees of Hornsby Bend in Austin, TX
April 10, 2013 - We are looking for a list of the trees occurring along and in the vicinity of the Colorado River at Hornsby Bend circa 1820.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center