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

Grasses for a pasture in Hays County, Texas with horses
March 20, 2015 - I intend to sow grass seed over a few acres of pasture on which I'll have a couple of horses in Driftwood, TX. I'd like to know what variety of seed(s) would be most beneficial to the land - and th...
view the full question and answer

Turf grasses and alternatives for NH
October 23, 2010 - I live in Hancock, NH, just north of Peterborough. We just bought a relatively new house that pretty-much has no lawn and minimal landscaping. Can you (or anyone) suggest native lawn grass alternati...
view the full question and answer

Indian Paintbrush outnumbering our Bluebonnets this year.
May 26, 2015 - We noticed we have more Indian paintbrush than bluebonnets in our front yard this year. Our issue is we also have more spear grass than normal. Is there a way to control this grass without killing th...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for golf courses from Austin
October 06, 2013 - I may be working on two different golf courses and wanted to know if any native or hybrid native grasses would work for the fairways and rough areas? The rough areas are no problem as a number of ...
view the full question and answer

Removal of non-native zoysia grass from Burgettstown PA
September 12, 2013 - What is the most effective method of killing zoysia grass? We bought a house that sits in the center of four acres of mature zoysia. It looks beautiful, however, despite our best efforts at "weeding...
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