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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 20, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Native replacements for non-native St. Augustine lawn
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi. We would like to reseed our lawn. It is currently St. Augustine. What would you suggest for a low maintanence, drought tolerant grass or ground cover. We would prefer to have something that does well in both shade and sun and can withstand some impact.

ANSWER:

If your lawn were entirely sunny, then far and away the best choice would be buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides). It is drought tolerant and requires mowing only a few times a year. I suggest you read Native Lawns in the Native Plant Library for a discussion about how to create and manage a buffalo grass lawn. Unfortunately, buffalo grass doesn't do well in the shade; however, you might consider growing it in the sunny part of your lawn and something else in the shade. One possibility is to plant native sedges in the shady areas. In Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape John Greenlee describes several sedges that do well in lawns. Meadow sage or Texas Hill Country sedge (Carex perdentata) is one of these that is native to Travis County. Alternative possibilities for your shaded areas are these two ground covers: Texas frogfruit (Phyla nodiflora) and Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia).

All of the above should be commercially available. You can search for sources of native plants in the National Suppliers Directory. The Austin Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas also offers a list of native plant sources.
 

More Turf Questions

How much shade will Thunder Turf (Habiturf) take?
March 20, 2016 - How much shade will Thunder Turf take?
view the full question and answer

Cause of yellowing buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
June 07, 2008 - We are getting large yellow areas in our buffalo grass lawn and think this is probably due to grub worms. Are grub worms the likely culprit and if so, what is the best way to get rid of them? We don...
view the full question and answer

Growth of non-native bermudagrass in Snelville GA
July 16, 2011 - How do you grow Bermuda grass successfully in the state of Georgia? Techniques in fertilization, lawn cutting and general maintenance. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Alternative for HABITURF® in Los Angeles County, CA
December 04, 2014 - The Habiturf brochure has a map indicating appropriate locales for growing this lawn. Excluded from the appropriate range is Southern California, where I live. Is Habiturf not recommended for this reg...
view the full question and answer

Native turf grasses for shady lawn
May 25, 2011 - I am interested in planting a native lawn using the grasses discussed on the website (2lb of buffalograss, 1½ lb of bluegrama and at least 4 oz of curly mesquite). My front yard is relatively small w...
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