En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Tall native grasses for privacy in Central Texas

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
1 rating

Saturday - June 29, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Privacy Screening, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Tall native grasses for privacy in Central Texas
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Hi- I am looking for a grass that will grow tall and be thick for privacy. I live here in Austin east of 35. Obviously something draught tolerant would be great! Thank you!

ANSWER:

I can suggest several native grass species that grow 6-8 feet tall and are relatively drought resistant once established.

Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly) is my top choice if you have alkaline soil (limestone or caliche).  It matures into large clumps that remain attractive year-round.

Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem) would also be good and adapts to a variety of soil types.  It's clumps may be a bit thinner that those of Lindheimer's muhly.

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass), when planted in mass, produces a specacular show of tall yellow flowers.  But the grass is rather short until the blooming season in late summer and fall.

Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) grows to about 6 feet in a wide variety of soil types.  To my taste, the clumps have a rather untidy appearance compared with the other three species.

Click on each of these grass names to view information about them on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Plant Database.  Shown below are images of the grasses I mentioned.  Seeds for the grasses can be obtained at Native American Seeds, and some of them may be available as established plants at local nurseries.

 

From the Image Gallery


Lindheimer's muhly
Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

More Drought Tolerant Questions

Propagation of Asclepias tuberosa
June 18, 2012 - Re: Asclepias tuberosa, "butterfly weed" bush -- I have a bed in a mix of Shoal Creek well-drained caliche, soil, and some enrichment of mulch that gets almost full sun and low water. After 4 yrs a...
view the full question and answer

Cenizo for border of school garden from Cedar Park TX
January 27, 2014 - Hi. We're starting a school garden in Central Texas, and instead of building a fence along one side, we'd like to plant a hedge. Ideally, it would grow tall enough to deter deer from jumping over, b...
view the full question and answer

Deer and Drought Resistant Natives for San Marcus, Texas
February 15, 2012 - Hi there, Do you have a list of plants and ground covers (deer/drought resistant) for the San Marcos area? Much as I love grass, it's impossible with this drought. I'd love to have lots of flowers ...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Galveston
February 12, 2012 - I'm looking for low maintenance, drought tolerant plants for Galveston, on the bay side, in a well drained area with morning sun. I was thinking of Phlox, Muhly grass, Lantana.....and I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a hillside in WI
February 18, 2012 - I live in Wisconsin and am currently doing a research project on plant variation on the north and south sides of a hill. I was wondering you could suggest any books to me that would address this issue...
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