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
1 rating

Friday - August 13, 2010

From: Charleston, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grass for Charleston SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hey Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Charleston, SC and am having trouble with my grass. What is the best wear resistant grass to plant in my area and when is the best time to plant it?

ANSWER:

We have the feeling, when you say "wear resistant" grass that you are talking about lawn grasses. Most of the lawn grasses being widely used are non-native to North America. There are many lovely native grasses, but few of them are what you would call wear resistant or can be mowed down to lawn height. From our Conservation section, here is an article on Native Lawns, with comparisons between native and non-native lawn grasses. Two How-To Articles that you should read are Native Lawns:Buffalograss and Native Lawns: Multi-Species. Another problem you could encounter is that the native grasses that can be used for lawns need full sun, which we consider to be 6 or more hours of sun a day. 

Unfortunately, we found only two grasses native to South Carolina that are mentioned in the native lawns How-To Articles: Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and we're not even sure they are native to Charleston County in USDA Hardiness Zone 8b, because the USDA Plant Profiles we usually check for a specific area had no information on those grasses in South Carolina. Our favorite native lawn grass, Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is not shown as growing in most of the southeastern states.

If you are in a Homeowner's Association, they are not going to like the taller native grasses, anyway. It looks like we may not be able to help you with native grasses; however, this website from Clemson University Cooperative Extension Selecting a Lawn Grass probably has some good non-native ideas. You also might consider contacting the Clemson University Cooperative Extension office for Charleston County.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for trellis behind fountain in Anaheim Hills CA
June 05, 2010 - We are looking for a flowering vine to plant on a trellis surrounding a water fountain. The fountain splashes leaving the soil constantly wet. We have tried numerous vines, but they all die due to t...
view the full question and answer

Comment on previous answer from Austin
October 15, 2013 - Ms Bradford, You just answered my question about St. Augustine grass.. actually, you didn't answer it.. You said "sorry, wrong number". Very funny. I think you misunderstood... I would rather no...
view the full question and answer

Full list of grasses for Connecticut from New York City
January 28, 2012 - Sorry, this is a followup to the native Connecticut grass query I sent half an hour ago. I see that it was asking for 'recommended species' that I ended up with such a short list of grasses (3). Th...
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
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center