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
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 11, 2011

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Comparison of native turf with St. Augustine and Kentucky bluegrass
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

The native turf page mentions outperforming Bermuda grass, St. Augustine, and Kentucky blue, but the graphs only compare the natives to Bermudagrass. How do the native mixes stand up to St. Augustine and Kentucky Blue, especially St. Augustine since that's common around Houston.

ANSWER:

You are correct that the Native Lawns study didn't do comparisons with St. Augustine and Kentucky bluegrass.  This is because it has already been established that they do not resist drought as well as buffalograss and Bermudagrass.  You can see comparisons that include St. Augustine and zoysia grass in a study, Non-irrigated Turfgrass Study, by J. A. McAfee and Ron Leps for the Williamson County Extension Service. 

Another factor that affects the success of turf grass is the amount of sunlight.  The native lawns study was a full sun study so we cannot draw conclusions about shade conditions from that study.  It is known, however, that the turf grasses of the study, especially Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), don't fare as well in shade as St. Augustine.  Additionally, buffalograss doesn't grow well in sand, a common soil type in the Houston area.

We can conclude that buffalograss and/or the multi-species native turf that includes buffalograss does very well in the sun with little irrigation once it has been established.  Please read Native Lawns:  Buffalograss and Native Lawns: Multi-species for more information.

You can read the answer to a recent question to find native grass substitutes for shady sites in the Houston area.

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for steep slope in Virginia
October 24, 2008 - Please help! Looking for landscaping ideas for a very large Steep hill. Features: slope is approximately 45-60 degrees, clay soil mixed with fill dirt, lots of deer, partial sun, seeking minimal maint...
view the full question and answer

Need information about grasses for cattle grazing in Weatherford, TX.
September 16, 2012 - Need info on what I can plant for cattle to graze thru winter. grasshoppers and drought have decimated our coastal hay for past 2 yrs.Is there anything we can treat all the weeds with besides chemic...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Need recommendations for native plants on a dry sunny hillside in Baltimore Maryland.
July 28, 2009 - Need native recommendations for sunny, dry hillside for ground cover or shrub in Maryland. Mowing the grass is a pain and an energy waster (and I don't want to be tempted to extend some adjacent exi...
view the full question and answer

Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
May 27, 2012 - In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
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