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

Competition between Horseherb and Chickweed
July 04, 2014 - Ok, sorry I did it wrong the 1st time!? I live in Houston, and I have chickens! I also have mass amounts of Horseherb, and I want to buy some chickweed seeds and plant it for my chickens! My question ...
view the full question and answer

Shriveling agave from Miami Florida
August 23, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Most upset - My beautiful agave (wish I could have submitted an image) has stared to misbehave. The once first liquid filled leaves, are starting to look more like the skin ...
view the full question and answer

Possible damage by invasive, non-native earthworms in compost
January 03, 2007 - I received a worm bin (vermicomposter) for Christmas. The instructions that came with the bin say to use the red wiggler worm (Eisenia foetida) and that it is okay if some of the worms go into your g...
view the full question and answer

Wintering of non- native jasmine in Newton KS
September 18, 2010 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I received a gorgeous jasmine for mothers day and I planted it in my front yard in the flower area close to the house. Can I keep it there all winter or do I need to dig it up a...
view the full question and answer

Response to previous answer on non-native cacti
March 15, 2008 - Hi Mr. SmartyPlants, Santa Barbara here, again. Thanks for all your effort, especially as it falls outside of the Center's general expertise. That Cacti.com is amazing and I found the answer in the...
view the full question and answer

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