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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 26, 2009

From: Mundelein, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs, Shrubs
Title: Plants for a creek bank in Northern Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello. I live in Northern Illinois. The creek (northern exposure in a wooded area) on the back of my property has bare muddy banks and is subject to seasonal floods. I want to plant something hardy to control bank erosion. A combo of evergreen shrubs/trees/flowers would be ideal. Thank you in advance!

ANSWER:

Here are some recommendations for native plants that should do well on your creek bank.  Unfortunately, there are very few choices for evergreens.

GRASS/GRASS-LIKE

Carex stipata (owlfruit sedge)

Calamagrostis canadensis (bluejoint)

Carex vulpinoidea (fox sedge)

Equisetum hyemale (scouringrush horsetail), evergreen

SHRUBS/SMALL TREES

Cephalanthus occidentalis (common buttonbush)

Cornus amomum (silky dogwood)

Betula nigra (river birch)

Salix nigra (black willow)

Lindera benzoin (northern spicebush)

FLOWERS

Lobelia cardinalis (cardinalflower)

Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed)

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus (spotted trumpetweed)

Lobelia siphilitica (great blue lobelia)

Justicia americana (American water-willow)

You can see more possibilities by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in the Native Plant Database by selecting 'Illinois' from the Select State or Province, 'Wet..' from Soil moisture, and your choice from the Habit (general appearance) option.

You can also find a list of Wetland Wildflowers of Illinois in the Illinois Wildflowers database.


Carex stipata

Calamagrostis canadensis

Carex vulpinoidea

Equisetum hyemale

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Betula nigra

Salix nigra

Lindera benzoin

Lobelia cardinalis

Asclepias incarnata

Eupatoriadelphus maculatus

Lobelia siphilitica

Justicia americana

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Plants for a sandy slope at a weekend cabin in central WI.
June 30, 2009 - I have a cabin in central Wisconsin where the soil is equivalent to a sandy beach. There are some areas that are nearly impossible to mow because of how steep the incline is. Could you recommend som...
view the full question and answer

Wet adapted plants for Virginia Beach VA
June 28, 2013 - I live in Virginia Beach, VA on Lynnhaven waterway (leads into Chesapeake bay, but at my point is more brackish). I've recently removed/contained bamboo with concrete and metal barriers and now want...
view the full question and answer

Living fence to contain sheep in Indiana
March 19, 2009 - I would like to plant a living fence that would also contain sheep. I have researched this but I cannot find a definite list of trees or shrubs to use. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Native plants with little sun and northern exposure for New York
April 26, 2006 - I live in a co-op and want to fix up the backyard. The backyard area has a west area to plant with a northern exposure and little sun and I am looking to plant something to cover the area. I would lik...
view the full question and answer

Pool-side ornamentals for south Louisiana
May 07, 2012 - We live in south Louisiana and are re-doing the plants around our pool. What are some low maintenance, small shrubs (flowering) or other ornamentals that would be good in this area?
view the full question and answer

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