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

Tuesday - February 07, 2012

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Planting, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process would I need to follow. The lawn is basically shady/partial shade. I believe the original sod was bermuda or bermuda mix grass (now dead). Deer eat almost everything in our area incl. autumn sage, crown-of-thorns, cotoneaster, lambs ears, and ate the existing grass. Thanks for your advice.

ANSWER:

First, as we often do, we want to answer a couple of questions you didn't ask. If the existing grass was bermudagrass, it is a non-native listed as one of the most invasive weeds in the south. The other thing about bermudagrass is, it doesn't grow well or at all in the shade.

Next, on to the question of "who ate the grass?" Did you ever actually see deer grazing on the grass? Deer are basically browsers, preferring nuts, fruits and new young foliage to grasses, which grazing animals, like cows, will eat. This article from the Arkansas Game and Food Commission What Do Deer Eat? discusses deer eating habits and includes this sentence:

"Unfortunately, pasture plantings of fescue and bermuda grass have replaced many good native deer food plants."

When they say "unfortunately," it is because their audience is hunters who wish to attract deer, but it clearly indicates that deer don't do bermudagrass.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is all about the use of plants native not only to North America but also to the area in which the plants are being grown. The Center has recently developed a very fine native lawn grass called Habiturf that is a low water use that does very well in Central Texas. Please read our How-To Article on Habiturf, which includes information on how to plant and care for it. For more information, see our research results on Native Lawns.

To get back to your original question, no, we don't think you can just sprinkle seed over the existing dead sod. If only it were that easy. Another How-To Article in our arsenal is Native Lawns: Buffalograss. Buffalograss is one of the constituents in Habiturf, and its instructions on preparation of the soil and planting is the best we have seen.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

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

Getting rid of King Ranch bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum)
December 12, 2007 - I ranch approximately 1500 acres of land seven miles southeast of Marble Falls , Texas . At present, the land is inundated with King Ranch Bluestem; which as you know, kills by smothering all other na...
view the full question and answer

Grass for family cemetery in Gallatin TX
August 20, 2009 - Recently, we made a family cemetery, and are now trying to find a type of grass that will make a healthy lawn for it. What would be an appropriate species to plant here?
view the full question and answer

Plants for banks of a retention pond in Alabama
April 24, 2009 - What can we plant on the inner and out walls of a detention pond to stop erosion? The pond is located in a neighborhood in Mobile, AL and the walls are 9 ft high with a steep slope.
view the full question and answer

Restoring tornado-damaged property in Alexander City AL
January 29, 2012 - Dear Mr Smartypants, We were struck by the outbreak of tornadoes last spring and our wonderful woods are now unsightly sloping pastures with erosion problems.. many stumps and coils of roots. We are...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center