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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.

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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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Saturday - September 29, 2012

From: winchester, KY
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Erosion Control, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Need plants for a slope in KY.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I have a slope in my back yard that is mostly a slate shelf, grass and Weeds will grow but not well, very spotty. I am wanting a ground cover that blooms. Would like to not have to mow. This is a very unattractive area, really needs help.

ANSWER:

Since your yard is on a slope, are you concerned about erosion? Grasses with their fibrous root systems are great for controlling erosion, but the blooms of grasses aren’t very eye-catching. For that, you need wild flowers. For a combination of both, let me refer you to our link on Meadow Gardening.

For plant selection, lets go to our Native Plant Database and look for grasses first. Using the Combination Search box, select Kentucky under State, grass/grass-like under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check sun under Light requirement and dry under Soil moisture. Click on the Submit Combination Search button, and you will get a  list of 22 native species for Kentucky landscapes. Clicking  on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, its growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases images. As you check out each plant, you can note its size and  and other features.

If you repeat the search and select herb instead of grass/grass-like under Habit, you will get a list of 98 herbs (wildflowers) for your consideration.

Select the plants that best match your growing conditions. Our National Suppliers Directory can help you find businesses in your area that sell native plants.

Another source of help may be the Clark County Office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension.

 

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August 16, 2012 - I live in the Bryan/College Station area and need a ground cover to abate erosion on the bank of an intermittent stream. The bank is shaded. Do you have any suggestions?
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