Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Wednesday - May 20, 2015

From: Kansas City, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcover for shady slope in clay soil
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I need to stop erosion on a very shady, sloping side of my house. It is cly soil. We drive our rider mower over it to get to the grassy area in our yard. What perennial ground over might work? Thanks

ANSWER:

The following plants are native to Jackson County, Missouri and will grow in full shade.  They would all make very nice groundcovers; however, I doubt that any of them will stand up well to being driven over by your riding mower.  The most likely to survive such treatment are the two sedges.  You might consider making a gravel or mulched path for access for your mower to your grassy area and planting a groundcover (or mixture of groundcover plants) bordering the path.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)

Asarum canadense (Canadian wild ginger)

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern)

Sanguinaria canadensis (Bloodroot)

 

From the Image Gallery


Pennsylvania sedge
Carex pensylvanica

Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Canadian wild ginger
Asarum canadense

Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Bloodroot
Sanguinaria canadensis

More Groundcovers Questions

Low growing groundcovers for pond banks in Brookville PA
July 30, 2010 - What are some good low growing ground cover plants for pond banks? Zone 5, mostly sun, preferably something I could start from seed? Hopefully low maintenance & non-evergreen. Perennial & hardy pre...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover or grass for Panama City, Florida
April 19, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants I live in Panama City Florida and am having great difficulty growing a lawn. I would prefer no lawn as grass, it seems a pointless use of resources but my husband requires gr...
view the full question and answer

Lawn Options for Saginaw, MI
April 09, 2015 - I'm looking for a low maintenance, high traffic lawn alternative. Will Texas Frogfruit handle the winter? My yard is small so covering it is an option.
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling Groundcover for Phenix AL
March 30, 2014 - Hi I am trying to find a grass or ground cover to control erosion on firing range berms which are 1:1 grade on a firing range outside of Phenix City AL. Sandy clay soil, direct sunlight almost all day...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

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