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

Evergreen plants for shaded lawn in Austin, Texas
December 31, 2009 - I want to replace three scrawny ligustrums on the shady north front of my house with native plants. I'd like evergreen plants that don't need much maintenance. I'm not looking for a hedge, but some...
view the full question and answer

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Is installing irrigation with Habiturf a good idea in Round Rock Texas?
December 05, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in the process of planning a new lawn in my front yard. We have decided to plant the Habiturf seed mix (thank you, by the way). Originally, we planned on installing a spri...
view the full question and answer

Replacing a Grass Lawn with Moss
January 02, 2010 - I have a small north facing yard that I would like to change from grass to moss. There is some moss now but still lots of grass. I need to rake a lot of leaves in the fall but want to get away from a ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for central Georgia
August 06, 2011 - We've just bought a 1990 circa house in Dallas, Georgia. It sits on a .62 acre lot. One half of the lot is woods, the rest is lawn. The lawn is covered mostly with weeds and wild strawberries. ...
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