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Thursday - April 01, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southeast
Topic: Turf
Title: Difficult lawn redo in Austin, TX area.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

In Oak Hill section of Austin and our 2 year old house had St Augustine dumped atop the raped soil. After the drought of 09 it is all dead. We have most of our large yard native but need grass around the drive and house. Estimate needs of 20 pallets. We had wanted to plant seed but between the major cost of dirt (we are on a hilly limestone slope) full of happy deer we worry we will waste way too much soil. Therefore I guess we have to go sod - Buffalo grass in the sunny areas and Zoysia in the shaded areas? How will they co-exist? Or can we do some sod and some seed? What will the deer, dirt, rains, etc do and how can we protect it? Every landscape person has a different idea. This is a $5000 project before labor so help appreciated :) Thanks.

ANSWER:

Adding good soil will help no matter how you decide to re-grass your landscape.  Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is a good choice for sunny areas.  There is a How-to Article on our website discussing the establishment and maintenance of Buffalograss lawns.  However, we recommend a mix of native grasses to create a thicker turf and more natural meadow-like lawn.  Another How-to Article, Meadow Gardening discusses using a mixture of grasses and native forbs in a very naturalistic and ecologically sensible planting to replace exotic grass monocultures.

Your shady areas are not well-suited to native grass lawns, but native sedges such as Carex planostachys (cedar sedge) are nice-looking, native grass-like plants that can be found naturally growing in virtually any shaded spot in Central Texas.  Unforturnately, finding commercial sources is a problem.  Consider using shade-loving groundcovers as an alternative to turf.  Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy) and Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) are nice alternative.

Your landscape problem is a complex one.  In the end, you will probably find that employing the services of a reputable landscape professional, with whom you develop a relationship and in whom you trust, will be money well-spent.

 

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Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides) and buffalo grass mixes
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February 16, 2010 - I currently have a St. Augustine lawn that is being overtaken by weeds. I would like to replace it with buffalo grass. How do I prepare my lawn in order to seed it with the buffalo grass and how tol...
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Erosion control in lawn in Tulsa, Oklahoma
April 03, 2008 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I have an erosion control question. I have a growing problem with erosion on one side of my house. The soil from the side of my house slopes down about 8" in about 3 feet to ...
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January 30, 2012 - I want to install a Multi-Species Native Lawn, like HABITURF. However, I live in Houston, Texas and most of your information on this topic doesn't address my region. As I don't have a heavily shaded...
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