En Español

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

Sunday - November 06, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Drought Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Drought affecting non-native Zoysia grass in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Due to the extreme drought here in Austin this year and the watering restrictions our Zoysia lawn has suffered and appears to be dead in many areas of our lawn. Will it come back? Is there anything we can do to help it grow again?

ANSWER:

From Gardening Know How, read this article Zoysia Grass Problems. As far as Mr. Smarty Plants is concerned, the main problem with Zoysia is that it is native to Southeast Asia. We know that a lot of people try to grow it in this area thinking it will tolerate more shade, but it really doesn't. It doesn't need as much water as guzzling St. Augustine does, but it comes close. We suggest you bite the bullet and get rid of the zoysia, which also can become invasive when it IS doing well.

We have a number of How-to Articles and some research results from the Lady Bird Wildflower Center on native grass mixes for Central Texas. As our drought continues wreaking havoc with water-intensive gardens, more and more gardeners are learning that plants native to an area will have seen the worst conditions before, in their genetic memories. In drought and water rationing, these natives hang on. Here are the links to information we think will help you:

A Guide to Native Plant Gardening

Native Lawns: Multi Species - introducing Habiturf

Native Lawns - including comparisons in weed resistance between non-native and native grasses

These native lawns are not too keen on shade, either, but the researchers are constantly improving the mix. If you have a lot of shade, you might rethink what should go beneath it: mulch, low-growing shade groundcovers, or decomposed granite.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Erosion tolerant plants for shade from Kerrville TX
August 06, 2013 - We have just cleared a lot of cedar out of a small draw and would like to know the best groundcovers, shrubs, etc. to plant to hold the soil. Deep shade most of the day.
view the full question and answer

Need a pretty ground cover to control erosion in Rigdeway, SC.
June 09, 2012 - What is a fast, pretty ground cover blanket to control erosion on steep hill. gets full sun.
view the full question and answer

Drought-tolerant turf for Southern California
April 23, 2015 - Is it possible to grow Habiturf in Riverside, California, in the area of UC Riverside? The climate is similar to the desert areas or Arizona, just slightly cooler in the Summer. If not, is there a d...
view the full question and answer

Why are there no low-mow lawn grasses composed of only native fescues?
September 09, 2014 - Dear SP, Most blends of ecograss I see are a combination of non-native and native fescues (and sometimes buffalo grass, blue grama, etc.). Why are there (apparently) none that are composed entirely of...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for South Texas Coast
April 02, 2010 - Grasses S. Texas Coast. Hello! I love all of the information available in your database Mr. Smarty Plants database (as well as the rest of the site) and find it quite useful on many fronts. My...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center