Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport 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
2 ratings

Tuesday - July 15, 2008

From: Hemphill, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcovers for steep slope in East Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I HAVE A LAKE LOT IN EAST TEXAS ON TOLEDO BEND RESERVOIR IN HEMPHILL TEXAS. THE LAKE LOT IS BEAUTIFUL BUT VERY STEEP. IN SOME SPOTS IT IS ENTIRELY TOO STEEP TO MOW. IT WAS COMPLETELY GROWN UP WHEN WE PURCHASED AND WE HAVE WEED-EATED AND ROUND-UPED TILL WE ARE BLUE IN THE FACE. WE HAVE SEVERAL LARGE PINE TRESS THAT KEEP THE STEEP SLOPE SHADED MOST OF THE DAY. I AM ASKING MR. SMARTY-PANTS WHICH GROUND COVER SHOULD WE USE. MONDO GRASS OR ASIAN JASMINE. OR CAN YOU GIVE US ANOTHER IDEA FOR A FAST GROWING GROUND COVER?

ANSWER:

Actually, none of the above. Both mondo grass (native to Japan) and Asian jasmine (native of Asia, where else) are non-natives to North America. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we are dedicated to the use, protection and promotion of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown. Natives are better for the environment because they are adapted to the conditions in which they grow-soil, rain, amount of fertilizer needed, etc. And, quite frankly, almost anything "fast-growing" can quickly become invasive. Think of kudzu; non-native and fast-growing. You don't want your beautiful lake place to be known as the originator of the next kudzu, do you? As for the Round-up, we recommend neither for nor against herbicides, but you may very well have been spraying native plants that would thrive there very well. And have you considered what drift from that spray may be doing to your pine trees?

Is it altogether necessary to mow? You move to a country place to get away from the tasks of town. Unless the grasses already growing there (if you've left any alive) are obstructing your view, it's hard to see what harm they're doing. If it's that steep, you can't very well sit out there nor can children play. So, if you are not going to mow, and want to plant something on that slope, native grasses and wildflowers can be planted there just as easily as mondo grass or jasmine. We want to suggest a meadow garden, and refer you to our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening. It is not a fast process, but one that develops and matures over time. And it will certainly add to the beauty of your property.

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Ground covers for play area in Plano, TX
April 14, 2007 - Is there a ground cover that would work under and around a swing in our front yard in Plano, Texas. It would get morning sun and dappled shade from a trimmed live oak in the afternoon. It would need t...
view the full question and answer

Finding a source of Straggler daisy
October 14, 2015 - I've decided on Straggler daisy but am having trouble finding it. It would be perfect for me. Do I have to wait until next Spring for it to show up? Can it be ordered through a nursery or a landscape...
view the full question and answer

Drought resistant ground cover for Rancho Cucamonga CA
April 16, 2011 - I live in Southern California. Could you please recommend a low maintenance, drought resistant ground cover that does not attract rodents to create as their home (more than one suggestion would be GR...
view the full question and answer

Wisconsin Ground Cover for Acid Soil
July 09, 2012 - What type of native wisconsin ground cover plants do best on acidic bare areas under pine trees such as blue spruce?...and where is best source for these plants or seeds? Thanks so much for your help
view the full question and answer

Fast Growing Groundcovers for Long Island
March 18, 2016 - Can you please suggest a few fast growing groundcovers suitable for the south shore of Long Island? The area is fairly sunny and dry.
view the full question and answer

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