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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

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March 20, 2010 - When do I begin to fertilize and water my grass in Colorado Springs? I am selling my house and want my lawn to look green?
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Non-invasive, drought tolerant turf grass for Brownsville TX
May 22, 2010 - Since Bermudagrass is considered "invasive" by many in the industry, what drought tolerant, non-invasive turf grass would you recommend for South Texas lawns? (Brownsville area)
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Low maintenance native plants for sun in Dallas
March 22, 2004 - What low maintenance ground cover would you recommend for a sunny backyard in Dallas?
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Grasses to stabilize creek bed in Bastrop County, Texas
May 06, 2011 - Hello, we have property in Bastrop county, the soil is sandy loam with clay underneath. We need to stabilize a creek bed, can you suggest any particular grasses (seed) for this? Know it's not the be...
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Evergreen grasslike plants for Austin TX
April 15, 2008 - Hi, I'm in Austin, TX and looking for some evergreen grass-looking plants. Would you explain the similarities/differences between Butterfly Iris and Lily Grass in this regard? Thank you
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