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
1 rating

Sunday - September 04, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for shady yard in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was looking at your research on native grasses to be used in a yard. I want to plant your native mix of seeds, but worry that there is too much shade in my yard. I live in central Austin and wanted to know how I determine if I have too much shade? I also wanted to know if there is company out there where I can purchase the seed and have them prep my yard and plant. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

We will have to tell you that the native turf grasses all depend on quite a bit of sun. Begin by charting your yard as regards the amount of sun on each area. This will require your checking various areas of the property at various times of the day. This time of year you will undoubtedly have more sun that ordinarily, except in the shade of large deciduous trees or structures. Generally speaking, we consider "full sun" to be 6 or more hours of sun a day. "Part shade" is 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade" is 2 hours or less of sun.

You have probably already read our How-To Articles on native turf grasses, but here are links to them for you or others who might be considering the same thing:

Native Lawns: Buffalograss

Native Lawns: Multi-Species

There are links in each article to our webpages on the individual grasses,

As for purchase of the seed and/or contractors go to our National Suppliers Directory, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list in your general area of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants to stabilize a steep bank in South Carolina
January 09, 2010 - I would like to use native plantings to stabilize a steep bank. The bank is on the side of the gravel road I cut back into the woods and around a 36" pipe going under the road to allow the free flow ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native invasive chickweed in Collegeville PA
December 31, 2011 - My problem is chickweed. I have found considerable information on how to eliminate the chickweed. My question is after following a suggested elimination process: How and when do I reseed with grass?...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
view the full question and answer

Need help with dying clumps of Cedar Sedge
June 24, 2015 - Carex planostachys. This grass was planted 2 years ago in light shade. It grew well until this year. Now some clumps are dying. Others in same area look fine. No insects can be detected. Why are...
view the full question and answer

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

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