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

Thursday - July 11, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Xeriscapes, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Non-native zoysia and bermuda grasses in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have Bermuda grass in the front and Zoysia in the back yards. The back grass is fine but the front yard Bermuda isn't. We have watered once each week during the spring and during the past 3 weeks, started watering twice a week. In one weeks time, our front yard is mostly brown. This happened when the temperatures reached over 100 degrees. We did not have this problem during previous hot summers. What can this be?

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown; in your case, Travis County TX. Cynodon dactylon (bermudagrass) is native to north and east Africa. Not only is it non-native but also invasive, considered one of the worst weeds in the South. Zoysia is a genus of creeping grasses native to southeast and east Asia. Therefore, both are out of our realm of expertise.

About the best we can do is refer you to a couple of websites that discuss these plants and perhaps you can find some answers there:

From Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension Bermudagrass

From the same source Zoysiagrass

We think you answered your own question - it has been terribly hot and dry and watering limitations are everywhere. We have had questions from people who say they are so over lawns. If you are interested in considering that, here are some links to help you:  Previous Mr. Smarty Plants question. Actually, we realize that is just one link, but it has several links in it to other suggestions we have had in the past for dealing with our climate.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Identification of spiky red berry in Connecticut
September 25, 2011 - I found an odd berry outside of my school, none of the science teachers know what it is though. It kind of looks like a spiked cherry. It has spikes on the outside, a pit on the insde, and has pinkish...
view the full question and answer

A cactus-like plant with stinky flowers
July 22, 2013 - Because of the green parts looking like certain cacti, a friend insists that this plant she saw in Mexico is one. Its blossom doesn't have the rose-like structure that cacti have, but resembles the ...
view the full question and answer

Questions on non-native St. Augustine from Austin
October 15, 2013 - I have St. Augustine grass in my yard. I am having work done in my yard soon, which will require new sod. I know the St. Augustine has to take root in the ground before the first freeze, to assure t...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Ligustrum in Granbury TX
November 30, 2009 - Hi, I am hoping you can tell me why my Ligustrum is dropping leaves? At purchase I was told they are evergreen. We are using them for a privacy hedge and would like to prevent any more leaf drop. The...
view the full question and answer

Difficulty with Clay Soil from Palm Bay, FL
August 22, 2012 - I had a very nice little native shady area behind my house for over 40 years, but now it has been cleared except for a 100 foot tall live oak in the center of this raised mound (50' x 80'). I've be...
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