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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 26, 2008

From: Fawn Grove, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Low plants to cover bank too steep to mow
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a bank along the road that is too steep to mow. This bank faces east and only gets 2 - 4 hours per day of sunlight. I'd like to try ground cover to prevent erosion, however visibility is a problem. I read your answer regarding grasses as good cover, however I can not use anything that will grow to a height greater than 6 - 8 inches due to driveway / road visibility. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

This was hard. The grasses we would ordinarily recommend for a slope in Pennsylvania all grow too high for your limits. One sedge that stayed low, one vine that would creep, and two low growing flowering plants, all of which will grow in Pennsylvania, were all we could come up with. You must have a really steep approach to the street to need that kind of height for visibility, not to mention the low amount of sun. Hopefully, some or all of these will help you out. If you find one or more that will work for you, go to Suppliers and type the name of your town and state in the Enter Search Location box. You will get a list of native plant suppliers, nurseries, seed companies and landscape professionals in your general area.

Phlox stolonifera (creeping phlox) - mat-forming perennial

Viola canadensis (Canadian white violet)

Parthenocissus quinquefolia (Virginia creeper)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)


Phlox stolonifera

Carex pensylvanica

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Viola canadensis

 

 

 

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