En EspaŅol

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?

Share

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Eliminating crabgrass in Middletown MO
September 28, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am having trouble with my lawn, specifically with the crabgrass in it. It now covers over 1/3 of it. I started using corn gluten meal this year, with limited tangible succ...
view the full question and answer

Procedure for planting buffalograss
June 30, 2009 - I would like to get a full schedule of events/actions for planting a lawn with buffalo grass. The area is already a lawn, though mostly weeds. It is June/July. First, cover area to be seeded with b...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Santaquin UT
August 11, 2009 - I have a hill in my backyard; it is about 40 ft tall and about 80 ft wide. It is probably a 1.5 to 1 slope ratio. I am going to be landscaping my back yard and have top soil put on the hill as well. S...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize sandy slope in Massachusetts
September 23, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smartypants, I am working on a small public housing project in Chelmsford, MA, northwest of Boston. We have a steep, sunny and SANDY slope and I am stumped as to what to recommend that wi...
view the full question and answer

Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
August 04, 2012 - Have lots of muhly grass planted 3 yrs ago. This yr about 1/3 are VERY slow. Still look like hay stacks. No pattern in the bed. You mentioned pesticides being too close?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center