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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - February 19, 2009

From: Smyrna, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Turf
Title: Lawn Grass for North Georgia
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I would like to know which type of grass would be best to plant in my yard? I have two dogs so there is a lot of traffic. The yard is on a slope so some of it stays dry while the rest is almost always wet. I live in the Atlanta area. I can probably spend one day a week working on the yard. I just want a pretty green yard and I know it is going to take some work. Please help.

ANSWER:

Most lawn grasses used in the US are non-native in origin.  Since the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center focuses solely on North American native plants, Mr. Smarty Plants may not be able to give you specific recommendations, though we will help as we can.  We know of no lawn grasses native to where you are located in North Georgia.  The most commonly used native lawn grass in the US is Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), a native of the Great Plains and it is not really well-suited to Georgia.  The native range of another grass, Creeping Red Fescue goes as far south as South Carolina but not into Georgia.  However, it may be well-enough adapted to use there.

We highly recommend contacting the Cobb County Extension Service agent for information on lawn choices and care.  Your county agent has a wealth of information at his disposal which you will find useful.

Finally, consider replacing some or all of your turf - it is tremendously costly in terms of water, fertilizer and maintenance expended - and replace the grass with native landscaping.

 

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