En EspaŅol

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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - October 28, 2009

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Replacing St. Augustine grass with native grasses in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a St Augustine yard around my house. I would like to introduce or replace this type of grass with some of the Buffalo, Blue Gamma and or Curly Mesquite. Can I plant some of the native seed in with my St. Augustine and eventually have a mixture or "conversion" process ensue, or will I have to replace the entire yard?

ANSWER:

If only. The grasses you would like to use are all excellent choices. Native American Seed in Junction, TX has a Native Sun Turfgrass seed mix consisting of 66% Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and  34% Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama)Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite) is not usually sold as a turf grass, as it is coarser in texture than the other two. 

One of the problems with intermixing these native grasses with the non-native St. Augustine  is that St. Augustine is often used because it is shade tolerant, which the two native grasses are not. They require full sun, which we consider to be 6 or more hours of sun a day. So, if you have trees in your lawn, or portions of your house shade some of your lawn, the two native grasses are not going to compete.  If the St. Augustine is left in place, it will shade out the seedlings or plugs of the native grasses you put in, and defeat your purpose. Further, the St. Augustine, as you no doubt know, needs a LOT of water, and the buffalograss and blue grama do not. They will need some watering when they first emerge until they get established, but one of the virtues of the natives is that you will have to water less, as well as fertilize less or none. 

You may have already read it, but we would like to refer you to our How-To Article Native Lawns; Buffalograss for more information on preparing the area and planting. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Hilaria belangeri

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Grass for area under pecans in Abilene, TX
January 01, 2009 - I have two large pecan trees in my back yard. Grass has always been hard to grow under these two trees, but lately all grass seems to have "vanished" and I'm left with mostly bare soil. Is there ...
view the full question and answer

Ornamental grasses under desert willows from Dallas, TX
September 06, 2013 - I am planning on planting 3 desert willows in full sun, below the power lines at the back of my back yard in the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. I would like to plant some ornamental grasses in the be...
view the full question and answer

Native turf and trees for Odessa TX
July 29, 2013 - What native turf and trees can I grow in my Odessa, Tx back yard?
view the full question and answer

Interaction of Habiturf and St. Augustine grasses from Willow City TX
April 16, 2012 - How does Habiturf and St. Augustine interact? Does one dominate the other? Can you plant them in close areas? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Dividing Gulf muhly in Leander TX
October 16, 2010 - I purchased a 1-gallon pot of Gulf Muhly (muhlenbergia capillaris) and am wondering if I can divide the clump in order to make my purchase go further. And, regarding that method of propagation, could...
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