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

Friday - August 31, 2007

From: Frederick, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Turf
Title: Replacement of lawn with native grasses in Maryland
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in west central Maryland within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. My soil is heavy clay and nutrient deficient. I have/am planting native flower beds and a vegetable garden in an effort to reduce the amount of lawn I have, however, not all of the lawn will go. Currently, the lawn is in a dismal state with most of it either crabgrass or dry and dead due to our current drought conditions. I am looking for a native grass or grasses, including fescues, that I could use to plant and transform my current sad-state-of-affairs lawn into a more native and environmentally-preferred one. I have read some info and noticed that Pennsylvania sedge and red fescue (both native to the watershed) are good replacements. How do I replace my ENTIRE lawn with them? And do you have any other ideas or suggestions as well as places to purchase them? Thank you.

ANSWER:

We could write a very long reply to your question and not come close to providing answers to your questions as useful as a wonderful on-line resource written just for folks in your area. Bayscapes: Native Plant Guides, a publication of the Chesapeake Bay Field Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service may be the best of its kind anywhere in the US. It provides excellent advice on landscaping with native plants, how to select them and where to find them. Two books that will be excellent resources for you are: Wild Lawn Handbood: Alternatives to the Traditionals Front Lawn, by Stevie Daniels and Secrets to Great Soil, by Elisabeth Stell. Finally, we highly recommend contacting your local Maryland Cooperative Extension Service agent for very specific recommendations for your particular landscape.
 

More Turf Questions

Invasive non-native Bermuda grass in lawns
July 30, 2007 - Hello Mr. Smarty Pants. My yard here in southwest Austin is the only lawn with Bermuda Tif 419 grass. I am surrounded by neighbors with St. Augustine. I upgraded to this hybrid Bermuda for a number of...
view the full question and answer

Blocking stolons of St. Augustine grass
July 25, 2008 - I have St. Augustine in my yard, and I am sick of edging the stolons that grow onto the sidewalk and driveway. Is there any way to stop the stolons or block them so that I can just mow and throw away ...
view the full question and answer

Buffalograss as lawn replacement in Austin, TX
March 12, 2007 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I have just moved into a house that has a yard full of weeds. I was planning on killing the existing ground cover and starting buffalo grass, when I came upon several articles on...
view the full question and answer

Nutgrass in Lakeway TX Habiturf
September 30, 2012 - I just installed a new septic system with drip field. Planted habiturf over the whole area. The habiturf is doing good, but I was away for a while and the nut grass has taken over several areas. It s...
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant turf for Southern California
April 23, 2015 - Is it possible to grow Habiturf in Riverside, California, in the area of UC Riverside? The climate is similar to the desert areas or Arizona, just slightly cooler in the Summer. If not, is there a d...
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