En EspaÑol

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
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
3 ratings

Thursday - March 26, 2009

From: Tucker, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for Georgia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am new to Georgia by way of Colorado and would like to plant a drought resistant, tough grass/sod alternative in my backyard. Would buffalo / grama grass do ok in this climate? My backyard doesn’t get full sun and is somewhat sloped.

ANSWER:

There is good news and bad news. First, the good news: Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is shown in our Native Plant Database as being native to Georgia. The bad news? It really requires sun to survive and flourish. We consider "full sun" to be six hours or more of sun a day. There are, however, a number of grasses native to Georgia that are acclimated to shady conditions, and we will give you a list. We are going to go to our Native Plant Database, do a Combined Search on Georgia, grass and grass-like plants (under Habit) and part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) and shade (less than 2 hours of shade a day), Light Requirements, and see what we can find. You can duplicate our method and make your own choices. While you are researching your options, can we suggest you read a couple of our How-To Articles on native lawns and grasses? The first is Native Lawns, the second is Meadow Gardening which might get you interested in an alternative to sod that is attractive and environmentally friendly, including helping with erosion on your slope. Follow our plant links to the individual webpage on each grass where you will find expected heights and propagation instructions; for more information, go to the bottom of that page and click on the Google link for that plant. If you have difficulty locating the grasses you select, go to our Native Plant Suppliers directory, enter your town and state and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape and environment consultants in your general area. 

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats)

Muhlenbergia schreberi (nimblewill)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens)


Bouteloua curtipendula

Bouteloua hirsuta

Carex cherokeensis

Carex texensis

Chasmanthium latifolium

Muhlenbergia schreberi

Schizachyrium scoparium

Tridens flavus

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Establishing native pasture in East Texas
October 29, 2011 - We are the owners of a 20 acre parcel in Harrison County, Texas. It is currently planted in pine trees. Our intentions are to thin and harvest the pine trees over the next 10 years. We would like t...
view the full question and answer

When to stop mowing Habiturf for seeding from Austin
November 14, 2012 - I planted a native Habiturf lawn in my back yard last spring/summer and it is doing very well. The how-to mentions allowing the turf to seed out once per year to help maintain the lawn. Is there a bes...
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
view the full question and answer

Plants to hold a slope in Western PA
April 04, 2010 - We have a hillside that keeps moving/sliding due to lack of vegetation. What kind of ground covering can we plant to help maintain and stabilize the hillside? If you need to know the climate here, we...
view the full question and answer

Need help with dying clumps of Cedar Sedge
June 24, 2015 - Carex planostachys. This grass was planted 2 years ago in light shade. It grew well until this year. Now some clumps are dying. Others in same area look fine. No insects can be detected. Why are...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center