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
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)


Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus canadensis

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Carex blanda

 

 

 




 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Ground covers for a shady spot in central Texas
February 23, 2016 - I reside in Austin, Texas and need advice on my xeriscaping project. Portions of my front yard have always been a challenge to get grass to grow, so I have xeriscaped that area with Fairland Pink gran...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
November 01, 2011 - I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low
view the full question and answer

An evergreen, deer-resistant shrub for Memphis
July 24, 2013 - I need an evergreen, deep to partial shade, deer resistant shrub or tree. Does such a plant exist?
view the full question and answer

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for small pots in sun in Austin
January 24, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! We are renting our house, so while we have a yard, the landlord would prefer us to only add plants to his landscaping in pots. I have filled some large ones, but have been una...
view the full question and answer

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