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

Identification of native grasses little bluestem and switchgrass
August 09, 2007 - If you drive east of Austin on Hwy 71, there is a bluish looking grass that has become very noticeable since the heavy rains in July. The blades grow straight up and each plant is in clump form. Do ...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

What is pulling Indian Grass out of a park in Washington DC?
June 29, 2011 - We are renovating a park in Washington, DC on the waterfront. We have planted Sorghastrum Nutans (Indian Grass). During the evening/overnight something is pulling the plants from the ground. It is onl...
view the full question and answer

Native plants that are dog-proof in South Texas
July 13, 2008 - I live in Odem, Texas and would like to use only native plants in my front and backyard. I have two puppies who love to dig. What plants should I use that require minimal attention from me and will no...
view the full question and answer

Native lawn solution for Southeast Texas from Missouri City TX
May 05, 2012 - I noticed the native lawn article regarding Habiturf states it is for "North, West and Central Texas". What is the recommended native lawn solution for Southeast Texas/Gulf Coast (Houston/Galveston...
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