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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.

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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - July 09, 2009

From: Spring, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problems with non-native St. Augustine grass in Spring TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

St. Augustine. It's July 6th, 3 weeks ago my grass was green and healthy, today I've got large patches (20' x 3') that are dying. I water my yard 10 mins / day in the morning (5:00 am). It's been 100+ degrees everyday but I figured watering 10 mins. daily was enough. Any ideas?

ANSWER:

Well, our first idea is that you need to replace that St. Augustine with a native grass that can withstand this drought and heat that Texas has been having. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plant is being grown. Probably you are not going to want to dig up your lawn, especially in the middle of summer, so since we don't know anything about non-native grasses, we found an article St. Augustine Grass by Richard L. Duble, Turfgrass Specialist, Texas Cooperative Extension. We suspect that your watering practices could be part of the problem, as usually two or three deep waterings a week, rather than a sprinkle every morning is recommended. Also, when you are reading the above article, be sure to read down to the end to the part about diseases.
 

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