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Mr. Smarty Plants - Native groundcovers to replace non-native St. Augustine

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Thursday - May 24, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Native groundcovers to replace non-native St. Augustine
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in west Travis County just south of Lake Austin. My backyard is very shady and does not drain well. I want to spend some time and effort landscaping it. I have thought about Amerishade St. Augustine grass in some areas. Do you have suggestions for plants or ground cover in the areas that are mostly shady? I would be particularly interested in anything that would work well near the St Augustine.

ANSWER:

Because St. Augustine grass required much more irrigation than other grasses, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center does not recommend its use at all. While it is more shade-tolerant than many other grasses, there are native groundcovers that may work better for you in the long run and require much less water. Shade-loving native groundcovers you might consider are: Straggler daisy (Calyptocarpus vialis), Texas sedge (Carex texensis), and Cedar sedge (Carex planostachys). Some other shade-loving native plants are Inland Sea Oats (Chasmanthium latifolium), Red Columbine, (Aquilegia canadensis), Cedar sage (Salvia roemeriana), and Heart-leaf Skullcap (Scutellaria ovata).
 

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