Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - February 09, 2007

From: Phoenix, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Xeriscapes
Title: Tired of mowing
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Please help, my husband got tired of mowing the lawn (bermuda grass) and recently decided to do a desert landscape by himself. Without researching, he mowed the dead grass and covered the whole area with "Weed Block" and topped it with 3 tons of granite thinking that without direct sunlight and water the grass will surely die. I'd like to believe that this will work but if not, what would be the most effective and least backbreaking way now, to ensure that the grass will not grow through?

ANSWER:

"Weed Block" generally does a good job of suppressing plants (weeds, grasses) underneath it unless they have stiff leaves with sharp points that can push through the fabric. Bermuda grass should be soft enough not to penetrate the fabric. You are going to have an advantage there in Phoenix since you don't get much rainfall and bermuda grass does need water. Unless you water the area with the "Weed Block", the bermuda grass should die out. At any rate, I think you should get very little, if any, grass growing through the fabric. Should you get some, hand pulling or digging up with a garden trowel (be sure to get roots) is your best bet. You can read about other Weed Control Methods.

For general recommendations on how to rid your lawn of bermuda grass, please see a previously answered question in Ask Mr. Smarty Plants.

 

More Xeriscapes Questions

Need suggestions for plants for a bird/small wildlife refuge in Wichita Co, TX.
August 26, 2011 - With our continuing drought in North Texas, I'm planning to transform my small backyard into a bird/small wildlife "refuge". What types of native plants and grasses can I plant in dry, hot Wichita ...
view the full question and answer

Container Plants for Lubbock, Texas
June 22, 2015 - Hello! I am looking for plants suitable for container gardening for a west facing porch in Lubbock. Plants need to be super tough to endure the baking sun, constant wind, dry air, extreme temperatures...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, sandy site in Central Texas
January 22, 2015 - I live between La Grange and Schulenburg, Texas. My soil is sandy. Full sun, no trees. I am a senior citizen with limited funds who is allergic to Rye and Bermuda grass. I tried planting a lawn of...
view the full question and answer

Drought-Tolerant Plants for Arizona
July 16, 2015 - Slowly turning south-facing lawn to drought-tolerant plantings with gravel paths. Mature Ponderosa and several blue spruce and junipers surround area. Grass area I'm converting with a few larger tr...
view the full question and answer

Plants for small shady area with clay soil
August 09, 2011 - Many people have space between the sidewalk and the street in front of their homes. In that space in front of our house is a growing maple that provides a lot of shade. The space is very dry, with...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.