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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - March 15, 2013

From: Waco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Shade Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What is the best shade-tolerant grass? What is the best shade-tolerant ground cover?

ANSWER:

Mr Smarty Plants thinks “best” is a bit too dependent on what you want from the grass or groundcover to just give you an answer and think it would be definitive.    Of course, you have required “shade-tolerant” and as you asked “Mr Smarty Plants”  – The Wildlflower Centers bias towards native plant solutions will be considered necessary.

  A good start is to consider our “Recommended” collections.  It turns out – We actually do have a collection for "Plants for Dry Shade in Central Texas". Of course, this list has all sorts of plants, not just grasses and ground-covers, but you can then limit the selection to those and review the results.

  Another of my favorite ways is to scan the  previous Mr Smarty Plants answers.  Interestingly, there seem to be none from Waco specifically, but then there are lots from Texas towns that are middlin’ close.

Groundcover for vineyard from Round Rock, TX
Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
Groundcovers for Kingsland TX
Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
Native turf grasses for shady lawn
Tough grasses for shade
Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
Native grasses for shady yard in Austin
Native grasses or sedges for a border in Texas

There’s lots of additional information in those, but scanning them for consistency, the most recommended grasses are Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) and Carex texensis (Texas sedge), and the most recommended ground-covers are Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) and Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit).  That should give you the spirit of "most popular"!

Hope this is usefull!   MSP

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Cedar sedge
Carex planostachys

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

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Plantings for beneath a red oak in Lubbock TX
February 23, 2012 - What would you recommend to plant in a two tiered raised bed facing west, totally blocked from the east, thus receiving only the afternoon sun? A 21 year old red oak sits in the middle of the upper ra...
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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...
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April 09, 2012 - My family owns a riverfront property off of Machodoc Creek which runs into the Potomac on the Virginia side. The water is roughly 3 feet deep at the shoreline and concrete cylinders are used to contro...
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Recommendations for plants under sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree
March 12, 2011 - We have an area under sugar maple trees and near white pines. We cannot get any grass to grow. There is little moisture and no sun in the summer. We live 25 miles north of Nashville, TN. Can you r...
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