Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Thursday - August 21, 2008

From: Fairfield, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for field in Fairfield, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are clearing youpon, briars and small trees from 13 acres of woods near Fairfield, Texas. We want to plant native grass(s) that can tolerate shade and part shade, but also tolerate mowing(shredder) once or maybe twice a year to control the youpon. The majority of the trees are post oak, cedar and pine and have deposited a significant layer of dead leaves on the ground. What grasses do you recommend?

ANSWER:

We're not sure that grasses are going to be your solution right now. Although not familiar with the shredder, we have seen commercials for them, and think this might be too much mowing for a grass. The native grasses can be mowed, certainly, once or twice a year, with the mower set up high, but that may not be the same thing. The second problem is your description of the layer of leaves on the ground. This is going to make seeding the grasses impractical, and that's a lot of territory for sodding or putting in plugs. Of course, you probably already have some native grasses growing there; hopefully, without any non-native invasives that have escaped from cultivation.

We have three How-To articles that we would like for you to look at, to help give you some ideas of what will or will not be feasible on your property. The first is Native Lawns, then Meadow Gardening, and finally, Recreating a Prairie.  We are going to give you a list of native grasses that are suitable for Central Texas, but you are probably a year or so away from actually planting them. The webpage for each grass will indicate what kind of sun exposure it will tolerate, soils, moisture, etc. When you are ready to start planting, go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, enter your town and state in the Search Location box and you will get a list of native plant suppliers, seed companies and landscape consultants in your general area. They will be able to advise you on the appropriate grasses, when to plant, etc.

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Grasses for horses in Austin
October 27, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants We just bought 4.5 acres in Travis County off HWY 290. We have 3 horses we keep on it but there is very little grass in the pastures. What is the best type of grass to seed ...
view the full question and answer

Holding soil on a bank in Goldsboro, NC
July 25, 2010 - I live in Goldsboro, NC on a small ridge with a very steep bank on one side of our property. What native plants can we plant on the bank to help hold the soil. Also, what would be best to plant on t...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

Is nimblewil (Muhlenbergia schreberi) a turf grass or a weed
July 26, 2008 - Mr. SP, I have seen nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi) both promoted as a turf grass and disparaged as an invasive pest. Do you have an opinion on this grass and whether/where/how it should be us...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control on slope from Columbia SC
April 25, 2013 - We are in the process of having a new home built in Columbia South Carolina. Part of the front yard has a steep slope starting approximately four feet from the corner of the house and running to the ...
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.