En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Environmentally friendly and drought resistant alternatives to St. Augustine grass

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 - September 28, 2006

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Watering, Drought Tolerant, Turf
Title: Environmentally friendly and drought resistant alternatives to St. Augustine grass
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

As a member of the planning committee of our property owners association in Wimberley TX, we are researching ways to make our landscape environmentally friendly and drought resistant. We have 60,000 to 70,000 sq. ft. of St. Augustine that has to be watered, along with landscaping plants. Where do we start? Is there anyone who could come out and take a look at the property and help with this plan?

ANSWER:

First, I suggest that you replace as much of your turf area as possible with wildflower meadows. With a careful selection of native grasses and spring-blooming, summer-blooming and fall-blooming wildflowers, you can create an area that is attractive year-round and requires a minimum of water and care. See the article, "Wildflower Meadow Gardening", in our Native Plant Library.

For those areas that must be maintained as turf, there are native alternatives to St. Augustine grass. Again, in the Native Plant Library, see the article, "Native Lawns", with instructions on how to install and maintain a buffalo grass lawn. Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides) requires little water or mowing and thrives in sunny areas. Another possibility is a sedge (Carex spp.) lawn. Of the five sedges named in the article, "Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape", Meadow sedge or Texas Hill Country sedge is native to Hays County. Another sedge native to Hays County that should do well is Cedar sedge (Carex planostachys). Sedges grow well in shade.

The Kerrville Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas has an excellent list, Native Plants for Landscaping in the Texas Hill Country, with notes on size, rate of growth, deer resistance, and cultural requirements for each plant. The list offers recommendations in several categories of plants, including: Grasses, Vines, Ferns, Tree and Shrubs, Perennial Wildflowers, Annual Wildflowers and Cacti and Succulents.

Our National Suppliers Directory lists "Landscape Professionals" in your area who specialize in landscaping with native plants. You might also contact the Hays County Extension Office to get information about the Hays County Master Gardeners Association who might be able to assist you.

 

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Replacing St. Augustine grass from Dallas TX
April 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Pants, we are replacing dying St. Augustine grass in a small, sunny back yard with ground cover. What are your recommendations for a drought-tolerant evergreen ground cover? We will till a...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant plants for IN
August 23, 2011 - What are some plants that would do well in an east facing area near my front door? I live in Indianapolis IN. I need something that is drought resistant and will fill in a 4x3 foot walled off area th...
view the full question and answer

Water-wise plants for clay soil in southern California
September 26, 2013 - My yard is clay. I'm removing turf to put in water-wise plants and bushes. I need some low growing bushes and medium height bushes that will grow in clay and that will stay green in the summer. Hopef...
view the full question and answer

Straw that broke the camel's back.
September 01, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I keep forgetting which day I am supposed to water and my St. Augustine lawn has turned into the neighborhood eyesore. Where can I go to learn more about this drought tolera...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center