En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Planting grass seed in Greenville SC

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
2 ratings

Friday - April 24, 2009

From: Greenville, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Planting grass seed in Greenville SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What type of grass seed is best to use in a sunny/ shady area where some grass is already growing? And how is the best way to prep the area for seed and fertilizer or what should I do before and after spreading seed?

ANSWER:

This is a pretty wide-ranging question, and whole books have been written to answer it. We are going to find some information for you from sources that know more about what they are talking about than we do, and then we are going to suggest native grasses for South Carolina. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which they are being grown. Most of the grasses presently in use for lawns are non-native, some are invasive, and most require a lot of fertilizer, water and maintenance. Most of the native grasses are not mowed, but grow to be graceful features of a garden area.

Let us get you started on this subject by recommending you read a couple of our How-To Articles: Using Native Plants and Native Lawns. Also, notice the Bibliographies with these articles; you might be able to pick up some good books on the subject at your Library or bookstore.

Now, some references found on the Internet: Planting a new lawn from seed, from the website Dummies.com. Please don't be insulted by the name of the website, it really was the best information we could find. Most of the lawn websites are from companies who are specifically selling a particular grass seed or type of grass or even lawn care; we were looking for something a little more unbiased. Another good source for local gardening information is the Clemson University Extension Office for Greenville Co.  Their home page has contact information and website. They will not necessarily recommend native grasses, as we are going to, but they probably have publications on specific methods of planting a lawn. Follow the plant links below to the webpage on each individual grass, read other information on it, including propagation methods, amount of water needed, etc.

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem) - perennial, warm season grass, 4 to 8 ft. tall, sun to part shade

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) - perennial, 1 to 3 ft. tall, sun, part shade

Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama)- perennial, deciduous, 1 to 3 ft. tall, sun

Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama) - perennial, 10 to 18 inches tall, part shade

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) - perennial, 10 to 12 inches tall, sun, part shade

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - perennial, 2 to 4 ft. tall, part shade, shade

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly) - perennial, 1 to 3 ft., sun

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) - perennial, 18 to 24 inches, sun, part shade


Chasmanthium latifolium


Carex texensis

Bouteloua hirsuta

Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua curtipendula

Andropogon gerardii


Muhlenbergia capillaris

 


Schizachyrium scoparium
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Illinois native grasses for shade
June 27, 2013 - Hello, my grass has died in a very shady area (standard buffalo grass), and I took this as an opportunity to plant some native grass varieties. I originally thought of buffalo grass, but learned that ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a drainage easement in central Texas
September 29, 2008 - I have a 1/3 acre of drainage easement behind my home. I would like to cover it with wildflowers. It is only wet during or shortly after a rain and otherwise does not have water. I have channelled ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for chain link fenceline in Nash, TX
April 29, 2009 - I have chain link fence all the way around my yard and I am getting tired of having to weed eat along the fence line. I am looking for some type of year round decorative plant or grass (preferably on...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center