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

Saturday - April 28, 2012

From: Poolville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: New gardener on lawn for Poolville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have never had the opportunity to have a nice yard until recently when I got married. My husband loves a nice yard and we have worked very hard and put in hours of work. We are learning by trial and error. I am certain we have a lot to learn yet. My question is, since I think the foundation is the most important part of a nice yard what are the steps I need to take to get the grass healthy and thick? I live in sandy, central Texas and our 1 acre yard has lots of Bullneddle and weeds.

ANSWER:

First, let's talk about what's in your yard now. From Flora of the Rolling Plains, here is an article about Texas Bull-Nettle. We hope you have invested in a pair of sturdy leather garden gloves.

There are several unanswered questions from your e-mail. First, what is the sunlight situation? If you have 6 hours or more of sun where you want your lawn, that simplifies matters some. If you have part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun a day) or shade (less than 2 hours of sun) native grass is going to be a challenge.

Before we start getting into detail, can we suggest you read some of our How-To Articles and previous Mr. Smarty Plants questions that might help you make the decisions about the early steps:

Native Lawns: Habiturf - The Ecological Lawn  Note this phrase from the first part of that webpage:

"The Wildflower Center has developed a mixture of native grass species that works well in dry regions of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona. Here are instructions for establishing a native lawn for these climates." We believe that Parker County, in north Central Texas, would probably qualify.

You need to consider how to get rid of what is already there, and would inhibit attempts to establish any lawn. Read this article on Solarization from About.com: Landscaping. This, if you have a full sun yard, should be the first project. This only works if you are doing it in hot weather and using a clear plastic, to permit the heat of the sun to basically cook the offending weeds.Be sure and read carefully the whole article on the Habiturf, because planting it involves far more than just sprinkling seeds, but it will pay you back in lower costs for watering and maintenance.

Since you are a new gardener, we would like for you to read some more How-To Articles that will help you get off on the right track:

A Guide to Native Plant Gardening

When is a Guest a Pest?

Caring for your New Native Plants

Addressing Texas Invasive Plants

These should get you started and maybe when you have made your lawn decision you can get back to us and we'll help you find appropriate plants in our Native Plant Database.

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native plants that are dog-proof in South Texas
July 13, 2008 - I live in Odem, Texas and would like to use only native plants in my front and backyard. I have two puppies who love to dig. What plants should I use that require minimal attention from me and will no...
view the full question and answer

O.K. to grow grass under a live oak?
November 26, 2014 - Is it a bad idea to plant grass around a mature live oak? We have erosion issues and trying to keep mulch in the beds around the tree groves is a challenge, even with edging. Much of the native dirt...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to control erosion in Montgomery County, Texas
February 24, 2014 - I am looking for some kind of ground cover to control erosion on a north facing slope in Montgomery County, Texas. The area gets very little direct sunlight. I need something that will establish quick...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant plants for MA
August 28, 2011 - We have some very very poor soil at our house on Cape Cod and are looking for plants that will take low water and sandy soil. Also we are high on a hill and quite exposed to the elements. The plot get...
view the full question and answer

Removing St. Augustine for natives in Grapevine TX
September 29, 2012 - We have St Augustine in our yard and we hate it. It guzzles water, we have to cut it often, and it's thick and hard to work with. Anyway, we want to replace it with a combination of some kind of g...
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