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
1 rating

Friday - June 19, 2009

From: Bakersfield , CA
Region: California
Topic: Turf
Title: Low sedge for lawn in Bakersfield, CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have a small area for a lawn, but would like to get away from a traditional "lawn". Can you recommend a sedge grass that would act like a lawn (not much foot traffic)that can be mowed once in a while and not take a lot of water. The temperature ranges from a few 30 degree days in the winter, to well into the l00's about 10 days a year in the summer. The area gets full sun most of the day. We live in zone 9.The soil is mostly clay.

ANSWER:

You can go to our Native Plant Database, select "California" and "grass or grass-like" on the pull-down menus for State and Habit, and click on the 'Submit combination box." When we did this, we got 248 possibilities for carex (genus for sedge) and other grasses, native to California. We narrowed it down to Carex native to California, and got 46 possibilities. When, however, we started checking with the USDA Plant Profile for some of these choices, we found very few that are native to South Central California in the Kern County area. It would seem that sedges, in general, are not fond of the environment in your area.

We wonder if perhaps we are barking up the wrong tree. We often suggest Meadow Gardens for people desiring to get away from the traditional lawn. Please read our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening and see if some of the ideas might be applied to your situation. Another article of interest in your situation is Native Lawns.  Unfortunately, the favorite native grass mix of Texas,  Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) does not appear to grow in your area, but there are other good suggestions in the article. 

To get some input from some experts a little closer to the situation than we are, we suggest the California Native Grasslands Association website. It has a number of links where you can get more information, particularly for your part of California. Another source of assistance on choosing lawn plantings is the Kern County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Also, consider contacting the University of California Cooperative Extension Office for Kern County.

 

More Turf Questions

Need name of company with experience in Habiturf installation in Round Rock, TX.
January 24, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I read the article about "NATIVE LAWNS: HABITURF™ A MULTI-SPECIES MIX FOR NORTH, WEST AND CENTRAL TEXAS" Do you know any landscape companies/groups in Austin - Round Ro...
view the full question and answer

Need help with lawn that was sodded with Buffalo Grass in Dallas, TX.
March 20, 2012 - I had buffalo sod put down last March. It greened up beautifully until weeds just about covered it up. I tried hand pulling. My landscaper showed up with something that appeared to damage the buffa...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for a lawn in Wimberley, Texas
April 25, 2010 - Is there a lawn grass that will go dormant with no water at all and come back? ..in Wimberley? our native grass didn't survive the drought.
view the full question and answer

Native grass lawn for San Antonio
June 25, 2011 - Dear Mr Smartyplants, I live outside of San Antonio and my question is in regards to putting in a native grass lawn. What type of soil should I put down? I've sprayed herbicide and was planning on ...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf for shady areas in San Antonio TX
November 08, 2013 - Will the Habiturf grass mentioned here do well in shady areas too?
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