Explore Plants

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
    
 

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
2 ratings

Wednesday - December 10, 2008

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Grass to grow in the shade of pecan tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We have an enormous pecan tree in our backyard that had grass underneath the breadth of the branches, but not around the trunk. The grass isn't doing well (though we did fail to fertilize it last year) and I was wondering if there is a grass that can grow under the shady limbs of a pecan tree. Will the shade and juglones kill anything and everything off? Thanks so much!

ANSWER:

You are correct that the juglones that are produced by trees in the Family Juglandaceae (Walnut Family) are allelopathic to some, but not all, other plants. You can see lists of plants susceptible to juglones and those tolerant of juglones from Ohio State Univeristy.  It appears that the level of  juglone in Carya illinoinensis (pecan) is less than in walnuts.  Grasses, in general, seem to be tolerant of juglones.  In fact, there have been studies showing that bermudagrass and tall fescue are allelopathic to pecan seedlings!

Here are three grasses and a sedge that occur in the Dallas area and will grow in the shade.  I have personal experience with inland sea oats growing quite happily under my walnut tree and suspect the other three species will also be tolerant of your pecan's juglones.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

 

 

 




 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Native ornamental grass for part shade in Austin
December 22, 2010 - Hi. I am looking for a fast-growing hardy ornamental grass that will grow in partial shade in south Austin that is not considered invasive. Unfortunately I purchased a few of the Pennisetum setaceum r...
view the full question and answer

Starting shade-tolerant ground covers in New York
September 10, 2013 - Hi, I have seen some of the posts for shade-tolerant ground cover on the east end of Long Island and my question is process related. Now that I've identified the grasses/plants I need to keep my fro...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees with a tap root
July 31, 2009 - I need a list of shade trees with a tap root system. I would also like the tree to grow at a medium to fast rate. I will be planting near a concrete wall and do not want the roots to do any damage to ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen shrub for East Texas
October 31, 2012 - I am looking for a small to medium evergreen shrub (native to east Texas) for a location that receives some sun in the morning but mostly shade. Something that blooms & attracts butterflys & hummingbi...
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for shady area
March 27, 2009 - We are looking to plant a privacy hedge around the perimeter of our yard that will grow to 6 or 8 feet tall - some of the perimeter is exposed to sun and we will likely go with evergreen sumac - howev...
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.