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

Tuesday - June 03, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Brown ryegrass in Austin lawn
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We had rye grass planted in our yard last fall. It was beautiful all winter. Now it is brown but the St. Augustine has not yet taken over, so there are large portions of the lawn with an abundance of dried rye grass. Could lack of water this early in the year be the problem? The grass next door did not have rye grass planted and is quite green even though it has not received extra water. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

ANSWER:

We believe we already have a diagnosis on your brown ryegrass. It's dead. The ryegrasses usually used for overseeding in lawns are Lolium multiflora, an annual grass native to Southern Europe, and Lolium perenne, a perennial plant native to Europe, Asia and Africa. So, along with the St. Augustine and Bermudagrass commonly used in lawns, none are native to North America. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center we urge that native plants be used in landscaping, as they will require less water, fertilizer and maintenance, since they are already adapted to to the conditions where they are grown.

This article from the Clemson University Extension, Overseeding with Ryegrass, details the planting, care and problems of the ryegrasses. Ryegrass adapts well to either sun or shade. Although cheaper, annual ryegrass is a second choice to perennial ryegrass, since perennial ryegrass has more desirable turf characteristics. Annual ryegrass dies out in late spring after being planted in the fall. Perennial ryegrass usually lives somewhat longer than annual ryegrass, especially in the shade. It can survive for years in some areas of the lawn where it can become a nuisance. It has better disease resistance than annual ryegrass. It is not recommended as a permanent lawn, however, because of its susceptibility to diseases in hot weather. Ryegrasses should only be used for overseeding in the fall.

In reference to the St. Augustine, which has not yet completely covered your lawn area, you do know that it has a high water requirement, which is getting to be an ever-growing problem in urban areas, especially in this part of the country. We hope you will consider filling in the blank spaces in your lawn with native plants, until you have totally eliminated the St. Augustine. See our How-To Article on Native Lawns for suggestions and recommendations toward a more environmentally sound lawn.

 

More Turf Questions

Evergreen plants for shaded lawn in Austin, Texas
December 31, 2009 - I want to replace three scrawny ligustrums on the shady north front of my house with native plants. I'd like evergreen plants that don't need much maintenance. I'm not looking for a hedge, but some...
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant and grub-resistant grass for Smithville TX
October 02, 2012 - I want a drought resistant grass for a sunny area that is also resistant to grubs. I have lots of grubs but want a healthy soil of good microbes. Any ideas? Zoysia, Buffalo? I noticed that Tech Turf r...
view the full question and answer

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf in Houston
January 30, 2012 - I want to install a Multi-Species Native Lawn, like HABITURF. However, I live in Houston, Texas and most of your information on this topic doesn't address my region. As I don't have a heavily shaded...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf for shady areas in San Antonio TX
November 08, 2013 - Will the Habiturf grass mentioned here do well in shady areas too?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center