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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.

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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.

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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!

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Sunday - May 29, 2011

From: Hurst, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Groundcovers
Title: Replacing Weeds with Native Plants in Dallas Area
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I have a large oak tree in my front yard and lots and lots of miscellaneous weeds (clover, chickweed, stickers, etc.). I am wanting to grow grass in my front yard, that is shaded pretty much most of the day, and get rid of all the weeds. Any suggestions on what to do to get grass in my yard and not weeds?

ANSWER:

Normally, Mr. Smarty Plants would recommend solarization to kill the weeds before planting natives, but it sounds like you may have too much shade for the solarization to be fully effective. Here is an article that discusses sveral methods for killing weeds. 

Now, when it comes to planting natives, you should know that native turf grasses are not going to do well in the shade. However, there are a number of native plants that are grass-like (the sedges) and a number of native groundcovers that can be an attractive alterntive to grasses.

Mr. Smarty Plants has addressed questions similar to yours before. Here are links to a some examples:

Native grass for Austin to sow in the early spring

Plants for shaded area under pecan trees

Native Grass for Sandy Soil and Shade

 

From the Image Gallery


Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Cherokee sedge
Carex cherokeensis

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