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
1 rating

Wednesday - January 02, 2008

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native plants for landscaping backyard in Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are starting from scratch in our backyard (approx. 200'x60')in Central Texas (Cedar Park). The yard faces West. What do you recommend for plants, trees, shrubs and grass that are native and will require less water and care. We do want to provide food for beneficial insects, birds and butterflies. We also need to accomplish some type of screening on the north side of the property. Deer and rodent resistent plants would be a plus.

ANSWER:

Let me first refer you to our list of Recommended Native Plants for Central Texas that you can browse through. The Kerrville chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) also has a list, Native Plants for Landscaping in the Texas Hill Country, with their suggestions. If you have a goodly amount of sunshine and are looking for a turf grass, Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is an excellent choice. It requires very little water and it doesn't need to be mowed very often. You can read about creating a native grass lawn in one of our How to Articles, "Native Lawns".

There are many choices in the two lists above for trees and shrubs, but here are a few that Mr. Smarty Plants recommends.

LARGE TREES

Ulmus americana (American elm)

Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm)

Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak)

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)

SMALL/MEDIUM TREES

Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Frangula caroliniana (Carolina buckthorn)

Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

SHRUBS

For screening purposes you probably want evergreens. The following are evergreen:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)

Leucophyllum frutescens (cenizo)

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Finally, both Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) and Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) are evergreen and can be pruned into a hedge although both grow to be medium-sized trees.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Ulmus americana

Ulmus crassifolia

Quercus muehlenbergii

Quercus macrocarpa

Acer grandidentatum

Prunus mexicana

Frangula caroliniana

Rhus lanceolata

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Cornus drummondii

Ilex vomitoria

Sophora secundiflora

Rhus virens

Mahonia trifoliolata

Leucophyllum frutescens

Morella cerifera

Juniperus ashei

Juniperus virginiana

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for steep slope in shade in Iowa
July 02, 2010 - I work for a small non-profit shelter here in Dubuque, Ia. that has a very steep slope behind the building that needs some sort of plant or grass planted to stop erosion. The slope gets little to no s...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine grass with native grasses in Georgetown TX
October 28, 2009 - I have a St Augustine yard around my house. I would like to introduce or replace this type of grass with some of the Buffalo, Blue Gamma and or Curly Mesquite. Can I plant some of the native seed in...
view the full question and answer

Surface tree roots hurting grass in Houston
March 21, 2013 - We have 2 mature Arizona Ash trees in our yard (30-40'). One of them is in a sunnier location and has developed an extensive network of surface roots (up to 1 to 1 1/2" Dia.) between the tree and th...
view the full question and answer

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

Top soil dressing for bermudagrass
February 25, 2009 - Need to apply top soil dressing to bermudagrass. Can you suggest any type? This area is heavy clay soil and need to even out the lawn as well as feed the grass.
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center