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 - July 25, 2006

From: Sparkill, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native fescues and sedges for turf in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, Came across your contact info while googling and hoped you could help answer a question or direct me to another resource that can. I am looking to redo my entire landscaping with native NY plants. I have been able to find some good resources for wildflowers and plants/trees. I am having a hard time finding any information about native grasses though. I am reducing the amount of 'grass/turf' on my property substantially, but do have one or two areas that I need to have a turf type grass on, for kids to play, etc., and small front yard area. I would like to know what my best bet is, if there are any grasse native to the area that would form a turf type lawn for these areas. I have seen some mention of gramma and little bluestem, etc., but they seem to have their drawbacks as well as benefits. I live in southern Rockland county, and my soil is very sandy, as the development was actually previously a commercial type sandpit years ago. Thank you for any recommendations or further resources you can recommend.

ANSWER:

There are a couple of possibilities that come to mind. One is the native fescues (Festuca spp.) that are low maintenance, require little mowing, and thrive in poor soils. Red fescue (Festuca rubra) is native to New York. There are other Festuca spp. native to New York that might also be suitable.

Another possibility is a sedge (Carex spp.) lawn. Of the five sedges named in the article, "Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape", two are native to New York—Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) and Texas (or Catlin) sedge (Carex texensis). Besides those named in the article, there are many other Carex spp. native to New York that also might be suitable.

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native alternative for liriope
September 20, 2011 - I am looking for native alternatives to liriope for use in sun to part shade, moderate moisture planting beds. Would prefer evergreen options.
view the full question and answer

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for moist, steep hillside in Tupelo MS
July 01, 2010 - I have a very steep bank that I have pampas grass planted in spots. It must be a natural spring in the bank because it stays very wet and runs into the street below. Can you suggest something to pla...
view the full question and answer

When does Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) go to seed in southern US?
August 06, 2014 - When does Bouteloua dactyloides go to seed in the southern United States, mainly Texas?
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

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