Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Erosion at edge of driveway in Abilene TX
August 26, 2011 - My lawn suffered a great loss of grass over the winter and the soil at the edge of the driveway is washing away with watering and the occasional rains that we have. I am trying to get the grass to gr...
view the full question and answer

Meadow garden for Colorado Springs CO
June 03, 2012 - We recently purchased a restored home on a mesa just above the downtown area of Colorado Springs on the front range. The previous owners seeded the front lawn with blue gramma and told me that all I ...
view the full question and answer

Erosion controlling Groundcover for Phenix AL
March 30, 2014 - Hi I am trying to find a grass or ground cover to control erosion on firing range berms which are 1:1 grade on a firing range outside of Phenix City AL. Sandy clay soil, direct sunlight almost all day...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Steep Bank in Wisconsin
March 21, 2010 - We live on a lake with many white and red pines. The steep bank needs something not adversely affected by a buildup of pine needles to hold the sandy soil in place. The bank faces west and the pines ...
view the full question and answer

Pollinator friendly lawn for Longmont CO
July 06, 2015 - I have a sunny, treeless, South-facing yard, with a slight South-facing slope in Boulder County, CO. It has one patch of buffalo grass, but is more then half some other type of grass. I would like t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.