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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.

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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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Wednesday - November 12, 2008

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Native grass for Round Rock, Texas lawn
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I just moved into a new place and the grass in the back yard is very spotty. I would like to know the best seed to put down to cure this problem. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is assuming you want grass or grass-like plants for your yard.  First of all, we recommend that you read one of our How To Articles, Native Lawns.  The best native turf grasses for your area are Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama).  Both these grasses prefer growing in the sun, however, they will tolerate growing in very light shade.  Both require little mowing and very little water.  Native American Seed in Junction, Texas has a mixture of the two called Native Sun Turfgrass.  You can also read their Planting Tips for Native GrassesMuhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill) is another of the shorter grasses that could be used as a turf grass in shady areas, but you could also consider sedges there, e.g., Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)—sun, part shade, shade; Carex texensis (Texas sedge)—sun, part shade; and Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)part shadeCarex perdentata (sand sedge) prefers growing in full sun.  For more information about sedges for lawns you can read Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape by John Greenlee.

If you would like a low ground cover instead of grasses, you could consider Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) and Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit), both which grow less than 6 inches high, never need mowing and both will grow in sun and part shade.


Bouteloua dactyloides


Bouteloua gracilis

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Carex blanda

Carex texensis

Carex planostachys

Carex perdentata

Calyptocarpus vialis

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

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