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Sunday - November 30, 2008

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Native grasses for shade in Dallas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


What native grasses can be grown under large Live Oaks in the Dallas Area? The combination of shade and black gumbo soil seem to keep all plant life, except for poison ivy and ferns, out. I would love to replace the spotty St Augustine grass that is currently in place.


If you are looking for turf grass, I'm afraid there isn't going to be a good choice.  However, there are taller, attractive native grasses that will grow in the shade of your liveoaks.  Here are some examples:

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama), the State Grass of Texas, 2-3 feet

Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama), 10-18 inches

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), 2-4 feet, a particularly attractive plant

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye), 2-4 feet

Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass), 2-3 feet

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), 2-4 feet

You might also consider using sedges.  They make very good groundcovers and they tend to be rather short.  You can read about their use for lawns in Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape by John Greenlee.

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge), 1-3 feet

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge), 12-18 inches

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge), less than 12 inches

Carex texensis (Texas sedge), 10-12 inches

Finally, here are groundcovers that aren't grasses or grass-like, are less than 18 inches high and will grow in the shade or part shade.

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Geum canadense (white avens)

Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua hirsuta

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Poa arachnifera

Schizachyrium scoparium

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis





Calyptocarpus vialis

Phyla nodiflora

Geum canadense

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