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Mr. Smarty Plants - Ground cover for North Central Texas

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Saturday - January 24, 2009

From: Dublin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers
Title: Ground cover for North Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in north central Texas. My backyard has very fine, powdery sand soil. The previous owners of the property let the grass die out and now every time it gets windy, the sand gets into our patio and in our window panes. What is the best ground cover for this area. The area is about 3,000 sq ft. I also have two medium outdoor dogs. I'm open to anything that will keep the dust down. Thanks Darin

ANSWER:

If most of your lawn is in the sun, then your best bet is Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss).  It is a low-growing turf grass that requires infrequent mowing and very little water after it is established.  Once it is established, its fibrous root system will anchor the soil and prevent sand blowing into your area.  It does well in the sun, but not so well in shade.  Please read our HOW TO ARTICLE, Native Lawns:  Buffalograss, for more information on establishing a buffalograss lawn.  You can combine the buffalograss with another low-growing grass, Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama).  Native American Seeds in Junction offers a mixture of the two, Native Sun Turfgrass, for sale.  They also have a useful article, Planting Tips for Native Grasses, on their website.

Sedges (Carex spp.) also make good groundcovers. They are generally low-growing and some are evergreen.  For information about using sedges as a groundcover lawn, please read Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape by John Greenlee. Here are a few recommended sedges:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex perdentata (sand sedge)

Carex planostachys (cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Here are some other low-growing plants that could also be used in your area as groundcover along with, or instead of, the grasses and sedges:

Rivina humilis (rougeplant)

Artemisia ludoviciana (white sagebrush)

Asplenium platyneuron (ebony spleenwort) for shady areas

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Geum canadense (white avens)

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex perdentata

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis

Rivina humilis

Artemisia ludoviciana

Asplenium platyneuron

Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography

Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas (2003) Turner, B. L.; H. Nichols; G. Denny; O. Doron

Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

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