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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - December 10, 2008

From: Iowa City, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: General Botany, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: What to do about grass dying under pin oaks in Iowa
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We have 2 pin oaks about 15 years old in our front yard. The grass has started dying out under and around them. What can we do?

ANSWER:

In general, plants need light (for photosynthesis), water (for photosynthesis and other processes), and minerals (which also help in photosynthesis). The grass growing under your pin oaks could be suffering from lack of sunshine, and it is certainly competing with the oaks for water and nutrients. The shade problem isn't easy to solve, but you can increase the amount of water and nutrients that the grass is receiving. Is the die back new, or has it been going on for some time? If it is new, you might try to determine what conditions have changed?

Another possibility could be an infestation of insects or fungus. For help with this problem, I suggest that you contact the Johnson County Extension Office of the Iowa State University Extension.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Slope eroding in Martinsburg WV
May 05, 2010 - I live in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia. My soil is shale/clay I am unable to grow grass it seems to burn up every year. It gets full sun and is on a hill. I have used topsoil and reseeded it...
view the full question and answer

Grass for Charleston SC
August 13, 2010 - Hey Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Charleston, SC and am having trouble with my grass. What is the best wear resistant grass to plant in my area and when is the best time to plant it?
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize a steep bank in South Carolina
January 09, 2010 - I would like to use native plantings to stabilize a steep bank. The bank is on the side of the gravel road I cut back into the woods and around a 36" pipe going under the road to allow the free flow ...
view the full question and answer

Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
August 04, 2012 - Have lots of muhly grass planted 3 yrs ago. This yr about 1/3 are VERY slow. Still look like hay stacks. No pattern in the bed. You mentioned pesticides being too close?
view the full question and answer

Possibility of root rot in Praire flame-leaf sumac
July 08, 2004 - I bought a prairie sumac two years ago and it was fine until recently when we had a lot of rain in Austin. Now the leaves are all brown and it appears to be dying. Is there something I can do? I reall...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center