En Español

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

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!

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

Groundcover for Laredo Texas
July 04, 2011 - I am in Laredo, TX and no longer want to waste water on grass. I would like to pull it all out and plant native, drought resistant ground cover - low growing, between 6-12 inches, sun and partial sha...
view the full question and answer

When to move eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides)
September 18, 2010 - I have a huge Eastern gamagrass clump that I need to move. What is the best time of year to transplant native grasses
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping plants for Sherman, Texas
December 19, 2007 - We are starting from scratch on landscaping our new yard. We live in Sherman, TX and I would like to use plants and flowers that are native to Texas and have a good chance of surviving. What are you...
view the full question and answer

Identity of grass-like plant with white or cream flowers in The Woodlands, TX?
May 16, 2015 - What is the name of the tall grass-like plant with small white or cream flowers that is planted in most esplanades in The Woodlands, TX.?
view the full question and answer

Is there a recommended list for Texas Eastern Cross Timbers?
August 29, 2011 - Is there a recommended list for Texas Eastern Cross Timbers?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center