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Mr. Smarty Plants - Ornamental bunch grasses to grow under live oak

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Monday - June 25, 2007

From: Richardson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Ornamental bunch grasses to grow under live oak
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I love live oak trees and have one in the back yard that is growing nicely. I don't know if it's the shade or the leaf and acorn droppings that won't allow the grass to grow underneath it. Around the base of the tree liriope is growing, but I want some ground cover, preferably a grass to grow to extend to the corner of the fence under the tree. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

There are no turf grasses native to Central Texas that will grow in full shade. There are, however, two grasses that are ornamental bunch grasses that will do well in the shade (less than 2 hours of sun per day). These are Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats) and Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye). If the area does get 2 or more hours of sun, there are a couple of sedges that will work well, Carex texensis (Texas sedge) and Carex planostachys (cedar sedge). For a non-grass plant, you could try Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) which will form a low mat in full shade and can take a moderate amount of traffic. Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit will also form a mat in part shade (>2 hours of sun/day).

 


Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Carex texensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

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