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 - February 23, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Lawn fertilizer in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My lawn person wants to spread granulated spring fertilizer on my lawn. Problem is I have a very old Live Oak tree that I do not want to kill. What should I avoid spreading on my lawn to prevent toxic reaction for my beautiful Live Oak?

ANSWER:

If this is "weed and feed," please, NO. Consider: there are two kinds of plant killers that can be included in a granulated fertilizer. One kills only monocots, which grasses are. The other kills dicots or wide-leaf plants. If you use the monocot killer, you will kill your grass. If you use the dicot killer, what kind of plant do you think that tree is? Right, a dicot, wide-leaved. Of course, many of the weeds in your grass are dicots, that's why that kind of herbicide is often used on lawns, but just consider how many other dicots that you have lovingly planted and watered are in the same area. Those granulated fertilizers, whatever is in them, will dissolve in the water of rain and sprinklers and be taken up in the water by the roots of the plants. The tree will use its vascular system to spread that chemical-laden water up through the entire tree. Sure, it may be a small amount in a big tree, but it also can accumulate. It might not kill the tree on the spot, but over time, it is not good for the tree.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Grasses for dry bottom detention ponds
December 15, 2007 - I am working on a project for my HOA in order to reduce mowing costs and to beautify our neighborhood. We were wondering if you could help us find people knowledgeable about dry bottom detention pond...
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting non-native Zoysia grass in Austin
November 06, 2011 - 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 w...
view the full question and answer

Non-allergenic landscape in Fairfield, CT
April 18, 2009 - I live in Fairfield, CT and need to have a non-allergenic landscape. Can you please list plants, ground covers, and trees/shrubs that would be beautiful, and help in this critical situation? The lan...
view the full question and answer

Vinca minor and St. Augustine grass
November 22, 2009 - Will St. Augustine grass choke out vinca minor?
view the full question and answer

Setaria scheelei grass for San Antonio
March 21, 2011 - It seems that ornamental grasses for dry shady places are few and far between. Southwestern Bristlegrass (Setaria scheelei) is exactly what I'm looking for and would solve all my problems! Only I c...
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