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

Monday - May 17, 2010

From: madison, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Shrubs
Title: Plants to hold a slope in NY
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

We recently built a house (on a hillside) and now are having some drainage issues on a fairly steep slope (a small creek is forming in the swale the excavator made "deal" with the drainage). Yesterday we noticed that part of the hill had "slipped" into the swale, and we need to find a way to stabilize this slope. It is east facing, full sun. Would like to not have anything that needs mowing or will look totally unruly as this slope is about 20 feet away from the house, so we would also prefer not to plant any large trees. Our initial thought was for some kind of low growing ground cover, but we aren't sure of any that will hold the soil well and ones that like damp conditions. Crown vetch crossed my mind, but I planted it at my last house and it became known as the bane of my existence. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!!

ANSWER:

You are right ... there is no need to plant crown vetch when there are more suitable, native plants that will not only be attractive, but will help restore habitat in your local ecosystem.

Your plant selection will ultimately be limited by the plants you find in your local nurseries but you can begin the search by visiting our Native Plant Database.  Do a combination Search for New York selecting your light and soil conditions and the type of plant (herbaceous, grass, shrub, etc.).  The database will generate a list with links to detailed information pages.  Choose plants that spread vigorosly (especially by underground runners) and you should have the situation under control before long.

Here are some plants that could work for you:

Perennials (Herb)

Anaphalis margaritacea (western pearly everlasting)

Coreopsis lanceolata (lanceleaf tickseed)

Echinacea purpurea (eastern purple coneflower)

Monarda fistulosa (wild bergamot)

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca (narrowleaf evening-primrose)

Tradescantia ohiensis (bluejacket)

Grasses

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens) 

Shrubs

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (kinnikinnick)

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Rosa carolina (Carolina rose)

Vaccinium angustifolium (lowbush blueberry)


Anaphalis margaritacea

Coreopsis lanceolata

Echinacea purpurea

Monarda fistulosa

Oenothera fruticosa ssp. glauca

Tradescantia ohiensis

Bouteloua curtipendula

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Tridens flavus

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi

Comptonia peregrina

Rhus aromatica

Rosa carolina

Vaccinium angustifolium

 

 

 

 

 

More Erosion Control Questions

Plants for bridge foundation erosion control in WV .
July 05, 2010 - There is a stream on my property that I must cross to get to my house from the road (stream is about 6 - 8 feet wide, with 5 to 6 foot banks). I've recently had to have the bridge repaired, and the ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Sunny Slope in CT
May 11, 2013 - I need a plant to use as groundcover and for erosion control on a sunny slope in southwestern Connecticut. Any suggestions other than juniper?
view the full question and answer

Need Native Plants for Ditch Stabilization in Texarkana, Arkansas
September 14, 2010 - I live in Texarkana, Arkansas. I have a ditch near the street in my front yard that is approximately 90-100 ft. long. It gets full sun. There is a lot of clay and rocks in the ditch. I need to fin...
view the full question and answer

Need plants to replace cedars on a 40 degree slope in Boerne, TX.
August 28, 2012 - My backyard is a roughly 40 degree slope that is covered with cedars. The slope is basically all rock, what can I grow here to replace the cedar which drink too much water. I would still like the area...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen native plants for slope in South Carolina
July 14, 2008 - We would like to plant an evergreen garden in our backyard, which is on a slope. It receives the sun from approx 9-4. We have an above ground pool, and patio area. Would also like a recommendation of ...
view the full question and answer

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