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

Thursday - May 26, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Replacement for non-native St. Augustine in San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a large oak tree on one side of my front yard. St. Augustine grass does not grow there because of the shade. What do you recommend as a replacement for the St. Augustine? I would like to send you a photo of the area in question and also attach a top-down diagram of my front yard to give you a better idea of the present landscaping. Please call me to give me your email address so that I can send the photo and diagram. I found your website by a Google search of Texas ground cover shade The question that came up was from Tyler, TX on Tuesday, February 24, 2009. The answer was helpful for sandy soil; however, the soil in our yard is black dirt over rocks.

ANSWER:

While we can give you some advice in reference to your shade problem, there are other things you have requested that we cannot do.  Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is designed to provide general gardening information specific to native plants.  We do not have the computer infrastructure to work with photos and diagrams.  For the type of service you're requesting, we recommend hiring a licensed landscape architect or landscape designer.

Sometimes you can find the answer to your question by searching on previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions and answers. We are asked the same, or  similar, questions very frequently, and if you become a regular reader you will notice that we ourselves draw on previous answers, in the interests of time. These are listed, beginning with the most recently answered, and continuing in the same chronological order.

Lookiing at the boxes at the top of that page, you will note there are several ways to search. We first did a Keyword Search, typing in "shade," and got 1312 possibile answers. Then, we searched on topic, and "Landscaping" yielded 924 previous answers. Finally, we searched on location and "San Antonio" gave us a whole bunch of "Questions from Near You." Obviously, you are not going to want to go through that many of our pearls of wisdom (and if you go back very far, you will notice that we get smarter as time goes by), but the author of each answer provides a title, which should give some clues to what you are looking for.

Rather than copy a great deal of information, we are going to link you and other readers to the question you referenced: Previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer. As you pointed out, Tyler has different soil than you do in Central Texas, so we will follow the plant link to the plants we listed and see which are native to and/orwill grow in the Bexar County area also. Please note from that previous answer that shade and soil are not the only reasons plants will not grow under that oak. We will give you a sample of the herbaceous blooming plants and the grasses.

You can make your own search by going to our Recommended Species section, clicking on Central Texas on the map, and then searching on whatever kind of plant you want (herbaceous blooming plant, grass, etc.,) even the hoped-for height. Follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant and study it to see if it will work for you. For instance, here is what we found out about 2 plants on the referenced list for Tyler.

Phlox divaricata (wild blue phlox) - can grow in both acidic (Tyler) and alkaline (San Antonio) soils. Soil description: moist, acid soils, but also found in calcareous areas. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) - native to Bexar County, Soil Description: Moist sands, loams, and clays. Poorly drained okay.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native yellow lantana from Elgin TX
June 17, 2012 - Why do my yellow lantana buds turn brown and do not open fully? The sprinkler system does not spray onto the lantana.
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of giant ragweed in Austin
October 25, 2008 - How can I get rid of a large field of giant ragweed? Part of the site is a steep slope, which is difficult to mow. I want to encourage native grasses but they are crowded out by the ragweed.
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for Buckeye AZ
May 16, 2010 - I am moving to Buckeye Az from Utah and would like to know what type of fruit trees I can grow. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Comparison of native and non-native bulbs from Fayetteville NC
November 28, 2010 - I am just a gardener seeking natives. As I could not find Crinum americanum bulbs/plants specifically, I checked further online. Here's an excerpt of what I found from the Louisiana Native Plant Soci...
view the full question and answer

Non-native daylilies for steep hill in Manassas VA
April 25, 2013 - Would like to plant steep hill w perennial flowering plants like daylily. The daylily farm said this would work great but not sure if we should lay landscaping fabric and poke through holes to plant ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center