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?


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


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?


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 Invasive Plants Questions

Identification of mystery tree in Huntington Beach, CA
March 25, 2015 - Have a "tree" that has grown from about 18" tall to about 10' tall in a little over a years time. It has a central trunk that is about 3/4" in diameter at it's largest. It has short thin branch...
view the full question and answer

Are agaves really native from Pacific Palisades CA
April 30, 2013 - I just replied re agave issues, and mistakenly asked the source of your information. I see that you clearly noted it, apologies. I would note, however, that the Riverside area is very much a hot,...
view the full question and answer

Taproot tree to replace willows by pool
June 23, 2008 - Installing Pool with bomanite decking all around it. We're in process of cutting down 18 year old Weeping Willow due to root invasiveness and small messy leaves. Can you recommend a good shade tree w...
view the full question and answer

Control of King Ranch Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum)
November 21, 2007 - What is the best way to get rid of King Ranch Grass (an invasive plant) on my half acre property? I felt like mowing just encouraged more seed heads to pop up.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on native plants
March 26, 2004 - What is a native species?
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center