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

Practicality of Cedar Elm and buffalo grass in clay soil in East Texas
July 31, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in Katy Texas on what used to be a rice field. The soil either has a lot of clay in it or in places is just solid clay. Will any kind of buffalo grass grow here? I'v...
view the full question and answer

Most ecological grass to grow in Austin
May 29, 2008 - What kind of grass is most ecological to grow in a neighborhood community in Austin? Is Bermuda good? Is Buffalo good? I live in a rental house and there are some bare spots in the yard that I'd l...
view the full question and answer

Native aparejograss and Water-cress at a spring in Horeshoe Bay TX
February 24, 2012 - AT a small spring that seeps from a rocky hill on my ranch near Austin, a stringy grass called aparejograss has replaced the watercress that used to be there. Should I be worried? Does the appearance...
view the full question and answer

Recommendations for plants under sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree
March 12, 2011 - We have an area under sugar maple trees and near white pines. We cannot get any grass to grow. There is little moisture and no sun in the summer. We live 25 miles north of Nashville, TN. Can you r...
view the full question and answer

Is sulfurous well water affecting leaves on trees in Belton TX
November 07, 2011 - We installed an irrigation system for our buffalo grass lawn last spring. The grass is fine but the leaves on the trees are burned where the water hits them. I suspect that the well we are using fo...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center