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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - September 08, 2008

From: Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Groundcovers to replace meadow grasses
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Are there any groundcovers that are tolerant to local conditions between Bastrop and Elgin and hardy enough to takeover meadow grasses? I have a couple of acres that was a meadow before I moved here eight years ago. There are numerous native grasses and the area ranges from full sun to full shade (cedar, live oak, crepe myrtle, desert willow). The full sun areas are on a slope. The plants would need to be tolerant to drought (and flooding) as there is no supplemental watering once established. With my age and health, mowing is increasingly difficult. Without mowing the grasses and other plants would soon be over my head as they were when I moved here.

ANSWER:

There are no plants that we know of, native or otherwise, that will do what you are wanting them to do.  Some grasses stay generally short, but none will completely take over a meadow area to the exclusion of all other plants.  Without mowing or some other land management, you will inevitably have a mix of plants, both short and tall, including grasses, forbs and woody species.
 

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