Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

Privacy screen from Simpsonville SC
May 04, 2013 - My neighbor cut down his part of our shared woods so now we see his whole "outside patio area". What kinds of fast growing shade loving trees and shrubs can we plant on our property line that will c...
view the full question and answer

Native plants to make houses for sale more attractive
November 03, 2006 - I could use your suggestions: I have 2 small houses in Dallas which I am trying to sell, and would like to beautify -- with plants. Currently there are no shrubs or groundcover or trees -- nor anyo...
view the full question and answer

Plant to stabilize river bank in Wisconsin
July 10, 2011 - We live along the Chippewa River in Pepin County WI and are looking for a blooming plant to help "hold" our river bank and also look attractive..it must be strong enough to take the spring flood.
view the full question and answer

Will Bermuda grass survive a drought-induced dormancy?
August 12, 2015 - If I stop watering a Bermuda grass lawn and let it go dormant, will it green up again when it rains again?
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for native grasses to stabilize hillside Lago Vista, TX.
May 20, 2012 - I was hoping for some advice. We live on a hillside near Lake Travis. 10-12 years ago I removed all cedar trees. There is approximately 1-2 acrees of steep land between our residence and the lake. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.