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Are there any plants or ground covers that are known to withstand both direct and reflected light?

I live in Central US, Iowa.

Every year I replant a 3 foot wide strip of grass along the south side of my house and by mid summer it has burned up. My house is on a slight hill so once the grass dies the sometimes severe thunderstorms can cause erosion.

The ideal solution would:

  • Withstand the amount of sunlight and heat caused by direct and reflected sun exposure.
  • Need water no more often then my Kentucky Bluegrass lawn. I only hand-water once a week during dry periods.
  • Grow thick enough to control erosion.
  • Be a perennial or shrub so that I don't have to replant it every year.



I really want to avoid using river rock. :)

Thanks in advance.

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1 Answer

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can try the native North American grasses. Some ideas are:

  • BOUTELOUA gracilis Blue Gramma 30cm tall Zone: 3 This is a small, clumping, warm-season grass native to dry, sandy plains of central North America. An excellent choice for the xeric garden where it can be used in the front of the border or as a specimen. It is low enough to be used as a lawn substitute. Very narrow grey-green foliage with decorative flower heads, turning maroon-purple as they mature.
  • Buchloe dactyloides - Buffalo Grass -often used as a low maintenance lawn substitute. It needs mowing only once a season and has low water requirements. Buchloe forms a tight mat with stolons (above-ground runners) and has very dense roots. Often planted with Bouteloua gracilis in a lawn, as the Bouteloua will green up about 2 weeks earlier than Buchloe. Due to its spreading ability, it is often used for erosion control.
  • Description: warm season; moderate spreader
  • Foliage - grey-green; of narrow blade width; 10-15 cm (4-6")
  • Flowers - sparse; blooms in July-Aug; 5-15 cm (2-6")
  • Ideal conditions: full sun; prefers clay soil, but will grow in sandy loam; well drained soil is required; tolerant of extreme heat and drought
  • Native to: Great Plains of North America, one of the short grass prairie grasses
  • Water to root depth once every month
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Thanks! I'll look into your suggestions further. –  Jeremy Novak Apr 26 '12 at 17:43
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