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Mr. Smarty Plants - Native alterrnatives for Bermuda grass in shade

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Monday - July 30, 2007

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native alterrnatives for Bermuda grass in shade
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have Bermuda Tif 419 on my lawn. As expected, there are small areas in the shade that the Bermuda is not doing well in. What would happen if I spread Zoysia seed in those shady areas? Would it grow amongst the last vestiges of Bermuda? Would it blend well? Would it take over parts of the Bermuda beyond the shady areas? Thanks so much for your great advice!

ANSWER:

Zoysia represents eight species of creeping grasses native to southeastern and eastern Asia and Australasia, found in coastal areas of grasslands. It will tolerate temperature variations, shade or water scarcity and therefore probably would help to fill in the shade that is causing the Bermuda grass to decline. Bermudagrass is also a non-native grass, a native of Africa, and has escaped to be a weed in lawns and flower beds in the U.S., especially in the South.

We at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are dedicated to promoting and protecting native plants. So, might we tempt you to another alternative for the shady areas in your lawn? We understand that your goal, and probably that of your neighbors, is to have a smooth and well-mowed lawn. But what if you could plant some low-growing, perhaps flowering, native plants in that shade? You wouldn't have to mow it, it would take less water and fertilizer, and make an attractive contrast to your lawn. Our suggestion is to plant native plants in that shady area that can take sun or shade, will bloom and, in general, be in contrast to the smoothly mowed lawn. Some good ones we can suggest are: Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy), Heuchera rubescens var. versicolor (pink alumroot) , Ruellia nudiflora (violet wild petunia) , Ruellia occidentalis (western wild petunia) , Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) , and Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats) . And two favorite low-growing ground covers with interesting leaves and gray-green color are Dichondra micrantha (Asian ponysfoot) (this really is native, not Asian in origin) and Dichondra argentea (silver ponysfoot) .

If you are interested in finding out more about these plants and where they may be obtained, go to the Supplier's Directory where you can search by area and find the locations of native plant suppliers that may be a source for the plants you choose.

 

From the Image Gallery




Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Violet ruellia
Ruellia nudiflora

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