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
1 rating

Sunday - November 30, 2008

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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
 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Plants for shady area in Brenham, TX
February 19, 2008 - I have an area which receives shade all day, but gets a lot of sun just before sunset. What sorts of plants would do well?
view the full question and answer

Privacy screening from Phoenix AZ
April 14, 2013 - I live in the center of Phoenix, Az. On the eastern side of my house we have some 2 story condos next door. The width of the side yard is about 12'-15' and it gets lots of shade. I also have my powe...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants for large pot in light shade in Austin
March 30, 2007 - For an Austin yard, please suggest a shrub or a mixture of plants for a 15 gallon clay pot. The area has dappled light and deer. I would prefer a deciduous plant if possible.
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for shade in Boone NC
July 05, 2011 - I have a totally shaded area with tall trees and want to plant some native shade wildflowers beneath the trees. It is fairly level. I'd like perennial flowers. I noticed Flaming Azalea was one opti...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow under pine trees in Riverside, CA
October 15, 2014 - Please tell me what plants would do well under pine trees in somewhat moist soil in Riverside, Ca. Also, I would prefer perennials that are easy to weed. (I currently have violets which are overrun wi...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center