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

Grapeland, TX is NOT Grapevine, TX
July 25, 2013 - I submitted a question and today received my answer. I do thank you for this valuable service. However, I stated that I lived in East Texas in GRAPELAND, Tx. Nan Hampton answered me and said that a...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for partial shade in Pennsylvania
April 04, 2008 - Much of my growing area in Northern exposure, shade-partial shade once trees get leaves. I'm looking for native plants to use for screens and for ground-covers, grasses and edible plants.
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, drought- and shade-tolerant plant for Pennsylvania
August 14, 2012 - Hello, I need a deer/drought resistant, shade tolerant, rocky soil perennial. I would like it to have some winter appeal. I live outside of Philadelphia, PA. Thank you so much for your time...
view the full question and answer

Arborvitae thinning in Bucks County, PA
April 09, 2010 - My arborvitae trees are about 11 ft. tall. I had them put in about 3 years ago. They were 8 to 10 ft. when planted. After the first year, I have noticed they are thinning to the point where you can se...
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing shade tree for New Braunfels, Texas
January 29, 2009 - I would like to plant a tree in the back of my property which is located in the Hill Country just north of New Braunfels. Could you please suggest something that is fast growing and will grow in full...
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