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

Non-monoculture turf grass for Florida from Sarasota FL
April 28, 2012 - I am looking for a non-monoculture turf grass suitable for the Florida climate. Will Habiturf work, or perhaps you have some other suggestions? Please advise.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a garden in Panama City, FL
May 10, 2013 - I live in zone 9 in Florida. We are looking for plants which will be attractive all year long for the front of our house's landscaping which faces north. I need a specimen bush which doesn't get ov...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for creek area near Abilene, Texas
April 04, 2009 - I have constructed several low water crossings on a live creek in the Abilene,Texas area and need to find out the best grass to plant to hold secure the soil and keep down erosion. The creek does runs...
view the full question and answer

Drought-Tolerant Plants for Arizona
July 16, 2015 - Slowly turning south-facing lawn to drought-tolerant plantings with gravel paths. Mature Ponderosa and several blue spruce and junipers surround area. Grass area I'm converting with a few larger tr...
view the full question and answer

Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
March 09, 2013 - We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center