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

Native plants for morning sun in Pembroke MA
October 07, 2009 - Could you please suggest native groundcover,plants/shrubs/grasses for eastern facing slope which gets morning sun? It is my front yard which slopes down toward driveway so it would be a major focal po...
view the full question and answer

Non-native zoysia and bermuda grasses in Austin
July 11, 2013 - We have Bermuda grass in the front and Zoysia in the back yards. The back grass is fine but the front yard Bermuda isn't. We have watered once each week during the spring and during the past 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow planter boxes in San Antonio
October 02, 2010 - We have a narrow flower planter box in three sections above a french drain in front of our house. The box is about 2 feet high (filled with Gardenville soil) above a french drain covered with filter ...
view the full question and answer

Narrow strip of groundcover from Sonora TX
April 29, 2013 - I have an area that is right under my patio about 12 feet by 1 ft. I'm looking for something to plant in there. It has afternoon sun, morning shade. I live in SW Texas so it is hot. but would like so...
view the full question and answer

Vinca minor and St. Augustine grass
November 22, 2009 - Will St. Augustine grass choke out vinca minor?
view the full question and answer

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