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

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)

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Groundcovers Questions

Groundcover for Bonsall, CA
October 17, 2012 - I live in Bonsall, CA. (San Diego) I have 3 acres, flat and sloped that are graded dirt. (DG and sheep poop from previous owner). It is getting close to mud season and I'd like to plant winter cover...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Southern California clay slope
April 02, 2012 - I have a 30 ft. high by 96 ft. long slope with clay soil slope that I want to plant a low height ground cover. Any recommendations on what ground cover possibilities to use.
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for area with impact from rain from roof
June 25, 2010 - The small garden on the side of my townhouse gets some hard rainfall during every storm. We've found ways of redirecting and using much of the rainfall (gutter and downspout to rain barrel, permeable...
view the full question and answer

Native Groundcover for High Activity Location in Austin, TX
October 01, 2010 - Howdy! We live in South Austin and have a smallish backyard that we're perennially working on. We have two young, very active dogs that spend a lot of time RUNNING and we never can keep ground cover ...
view the full question and answer

Marbleseed (Onosmodium sp.) propagation and use as groundcover for
October 08, 2007 - I am interested in any information, esp. propagation & suitability as a landscape plant, (possible ground cover?) for marble seed. I have found it growing in deep shade on stream banks. It has a 4--...
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.

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

Search More Titles in Bibliography