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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.

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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.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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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.

 

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