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
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
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

Roots of live oak in lawn from Round Rock TX
June 24, 2011 - I live on a cul-de-sac and have a small triangle shape yard. There is a large live oak in the middle of the yard. I am concerned because large bark covered roots have emerged on two sides of the tre...
view the full question and answer

Grassy "weed" invasion in Bermuda grass lawn
July 09, 2007 - Our grass is being totally overrun by this weed.(I don't know what the name is but I do know it's not the dandelion weed or the thin grassy weed). It is Bermuda grass and I really don't know how to...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance native plants for sloping lawn in Maine
June 07, 2005 - Hello, we live in Maine and have clay-ey soil with a lot of sun. I suspect the soil is acidic as well. We would like to replace at least part of our small front lawn with native ground cover or gras...
view the full question and answer

Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides) for Brownsville, Texas lawn
January 08, 2008 - I inherited a house 2 miles from Boca Beach near Brownsville, Tx. Water has to be trucked in 30 miles from Brownsville so a conventional lawn is out of the question. Now the yard is only weeds. Alw...
view the full question and answer

Alternative for HABITURF® in Contra Costa County, CA
September 17, 2014 - We live in Kensington, just north of Berkeley, in the San Francisco area. We intend to get rid of our water consuming lawn and we are wondering what kind of alternative you would suggest. You don't s...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center