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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

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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Sunday - November 04, 2012

From: Tallahassee, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant
Title: Groundcover to prevent erosion in Florida
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live on a hill and put in a new side driveway and now I am seeing erosion along the driveway and can see the bottom of my concrete. Grass won't grow because its all shaded. What would be the best groundcover or grass to put down to prevent erosion and tolerate shade. I want to plant now for October and know it may go dormant. I researched and some sites mentioned Liriope muscaria?

ANSWER:

First of all, our mission here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes." Since Liriope muscari is a native of China and Japan, it would not be a plant that we would recommend.  We do have some native plant recommendations, however.

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge) makes a very good evergreen groundcover.  Like grasses, it has a fibrous root system that helps fight erosion.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) does well in sun, part shade or shade.   In Tallahassee it would probably remain evergreen.

Mitchella repens (Partridgeberry) will grow in part shade or shade.

Packera aurea (Golden ragwort) and Packera obovata (Golden groundsel) both make evergreen groundcovers with yellow flowers early in the spring.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) is evergreen.

There are several ferns that would make good ground covers in Leon County:

Polystichum acrostichoides (Christmas fern) is evergreen.

Thelypteris kunthii (Wood fern) is semi-evergreen and makes a low maintenance groundcover.

Woodwardia areolata (Netted chainfern) is a deciduous fern that makes a good groundcover.

You might consider using a combination of some of the plants above rather than making a mono-culture of a single type of plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern woodland sedge
Carex blanda

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Partridgeberry
Mitchella repens

Golden groundsel
Packera aurea

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Christmas fern
Polystichum acrostichoides

Wood fern
Thelypteris kunthii

Netted chainfern
Woodwardia areolata

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