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

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 Non-Natives Questions

Pruning Cuphea Plants
February 04, 2013 - The David Verity cuphea (cigar plants) that I planted last spring are now 3-4 feet high. I would like to move them, but before I do they seem to need pruning. All the branches are brown and dry lookin...
view the full question and answer

Plants looking similar to Camellia sinensis in Venezuela
June 30, 2008 - Is there another plant that looks similar to the tea plant? I need to do a photoshoot of a tea plantation, but canīt really get to one, so I was wondering if there were other plants that at least look...
view the full question and answer

Control of suckers on non-native crepe myrtle from Bay Point, CA
March 08, 2011 - I wrote to you a while back and haven't heard back. I wanted to know if Naphthalene Acidic Acid will keep the suckers on my Crepe Myrtle at bay? And if so, where might I find it? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Recovery from transplant shock for bougainvillea
July 12, 2007 - I live outside of Phoenix. I just bought a bougainvillea in a large pot. It was doing nicely until I brought it home. I placed it in a sunny spot in my front yard inside of a large volcanic rock that ...
view the full question and answer

Lifespan of non-native weeping cherry tree
September 17, 2008 - What is the lifespan of a weeping cherry tree? Thanks.
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