Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - January 25, 2008

From: Splendora, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grass for Splendora, Texas.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have a newly built house on a two acre lot in Splendora (zip code 77372). We would like to seed (the best choice) for grass. What about centipede or buffalo grass? The soil is a sand with clay 4 feet underneath. Also, we have "critter holes" that we can't figure out. I know what crawfish "towers" look like (we have a few), but, these others are a mystery. They are up to 2 - 3 inches wide & seem to have a least two entrances. I'm hoping they aren't snake holes!! Any ideas? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), but not Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipede grass) since it is not native to North America and what we are all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "...to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes." Buffalograss does very well in the sun and in partial shade, requires very little water, and doesn't need mowing very often. Please see our article "Native Lawns" for help in establishing a native lawn.

You might also consider using one of the sedges (e.g., Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge), Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) or Carex texensis (Texas sedge)) in place of grass for your lawn. For more on the advantages of replacing grass with sedges read Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape by John Greenlee.

There are several plants that aren't grasses or sedges that will also work as groundcovers; for instance, Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy), Geum canadense (white avens), and Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit).

Now for those critter holes, have you considered that they could be made by moles or gophers? I think this, or some other rodent, is more likely than snakes; but, without seeing a picture of them, I'm afraid that's about the best I can do. You might check with your Montgomery County Extension Office to see if they have any ideas for you.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Carex cherokeensis

Carex blanda

Carex texensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants native to Galveston that would survive in Austin
December 01, 2008 - What plants are native to the Galveston, Texas region? Can any of those plants survive in the Austin area?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, sandy site in Central Texas
January 22, 2015 - I live between La Grange and Schulenburg, Texas. My soil is sandy. Full sun, no trees. I am a senior citizen with limited funds who is allergic to Rye and Bermuda grass. I tried planting a lawn of...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant native plants for Eagle Scout project in Urbandale IA
April 27, 2013 - Mr. Smarty Plants, My son is planning his Eagle Scout Project doing some landscaping for the Iowa Primate Learning Sanctuary. The facility has asked him to use only plants native to Iowa. Can you su...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower field for sewage leach field from Olga Washington
August 01, 2012 - I am interested in planting a large native wildflower field at a resort in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. It would be over a sewage leach field for many cabins and bathrooms. Are there any ...
view the full question and answer

Native alternatives to St. Augustine for under an Arizona Ash
October 12, 2006 - I live in Mansfield, TX. We have a large Arizona Ash tree in our back yard. No grass will grow under it. We are thinking of laying sod (St. Augustine) there. Is this a good solution and if so, whe...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.