En Español

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?


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

Sunday - April 22, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Invasive nature of non-native Zoysia japonica grass
Answered by: Joe Marcus


I have been reading up on Zoysia grass and I am curious about its invasive nature. Is there a good way to keep it from going into my neighbors' yards? I was thinking about using some edging material along the property lines. Would this help control it? I was also wondering how to control the thatching problem I have been reading about.


Most zoysia grasses will outcompete Bermudagrass and St. Augustine grass, the two most common lawn grasses in your area (Central Texas). However, most cultivars spread quite slowly and some, like Zoysia japonica 'Meyer', is exceedingly slow-spreading. None of the zoysia grasses are North American native grasses.

Check with your neighbors; many would encourage zoysia to replace their existing turfgrass. If your neighbors wish to keep their grass as it is, edging will help. Your zoysia may still find a way to go under or over most edging, though.

Thatch is not usually a serious problem for zoysia if it is not over-fertilized or mowed too infrequently. If you find that dethatching is necessary, many equipment rental companies have machines for that purpose.


More Non-Natives Questions

Identifying problem with non-native plumbagos in San Antonio
November 21, 2009 - Barbara Medford answered my question on plumbagos..we have the ones that grow crazy in TX (not sure which species, but w/ the bright blue/purple blooms..). I have pictures and wasn't sure where to se...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
view the full question and answer

Color in non-native portulaca from Beach Haven NJ
July 21, 2011 - I bought a portulaca in a hanging basket and divided it up and planted it in my garden. It is doing ok..but I have almost entirely orange flowers..maybe two reds. I was hoping for multi-colored..red...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Filaree seeds for science classroom
May 30, 2008 - Can I purchase Filaree seeds for my science classroom? If so, where?
view the full question and answer

Plants (mostly non-native) not common to Tyler TX area
July 11, 2009 - I live in Tyler, TX 75705. I always seem to fall in love with plants that are not common for this area so I cannot find information on growing these plants in this area: Esperanza, Alstromeria, Japan...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center