En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Will drought-stricken non-native St. Augustine come back in Cedar Park TX

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

Saturday - January 30, 2010

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Will drought-stricken non-native St. Augustine come back in Cedar Park TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently bought a new house but the grass in the yard looked completely dead (bought house in Nov) even though the neighbor's grass was still green. The previous owner stopped watering the grass (even though he had a sprinkler system). Will the grass come back (St Augustine)? What can I do to help it. I can't afford to re-sod the whole yard. I live in Cedar Park. Thanks!

ANSWER:

Since St. Augustine is not native to North America, it is out of the area of expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Both because of economic reasons and watering restrictions last summer, a lot of people are probably facing the same problem. If you live in a Homeowner's Association requiring a closely mowed lawn and/or have a lot of shade on your lawn, you may be stuck with the St. Augustine. Now that we have had some rain, and assuming you will water when there is no rain, the grass should come back. It will, however, be heavily invaded by a number of weeds. The weeds probably ARE native to the Central Texas area, and will be more likely to survive than the grass, which needs quite a lot of water.

We understand your not wishing to re-sod all at once, but we would like to make some alternative suggestions. If you have some sunny areas in your lawn, there are native grasses that can actually be mowed and are acceptable to most Homeowner's Associations. See our How-To Articles on Native Lawns and Buffalograss. You could begin gradually replacing the St. Augustine with a more appropriate native plant, as time and resources allowed. You will still have to be vigilant about weeds, but you won't need to do all the fertilizing and watering that St. Augustine requires. Over time, you could completely replace the non-native plants with natives more appropriate for your environment. If you have areas of heavy shade because of trees, we would even suggest removing the lawn material there and putting down a good quality shredded bark mulch. This is attractive, requires no watering and helps to keep weeds down. As it decomposes it will add nourishment to the tree roots beneath it. Of course, it will need to be replenished from time to time, but likely only once or twice a year.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bouteloua dactyloides

Hilaria belangeri var. belangeri

Bouteloua gracilis
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Plants for slope in central Alabama
July 26, 2011 - Our home is atop a 20-25' eastern facing sandy loam slope in central Alabama. It was previously covered w/ kudzu. After 3 yrs. of eradication of the kudzu we are ready to plant with native grasses/pl...
view the full question and answer

Moving non-native globe willow in Ft. Worth TX
August 10, 2009 - I planted a globe willow in a small area in front of my house and it is probably going to need more space. Can I replant it in a more open area without killing it? It is about 8-9 ft tall, 2-3 ft of ...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native globe willow in Las Cruces, NM
June 26, 2010 - I live in Las Cruces, NM. I have a good size globe willow tree. The leaves are turning yellow and brown dryness at tips and leaves are falling off. Does it just need water?
view the full question and answer

Non-native banana trees
June 06, 2008 - I recently planted two types of Banana trees, a Darjeeling and a Giant Nepal. I know that both are hardy to my zone 7 but that the Nepal needed heavy mulching. My first question is how long will it ta...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for bamboo from Houston
May 21, 2013 - I've read one reply where you do not advise using Bamboo as a privacy fence plant. What do you suggest in its place? The suggestions on the one I read will not work for me. Your suggestions were My...
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