En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Grass lawn from Durham NC

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

Tuesday - October 08, 2013

From: Durham, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grass lawn from Durham NC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Durham, NC. Want to plant a small front grass lawn, full sun, dry. Willing to mow. Not good about watering. Advice?

ANSWER:

Tis the season to be lawning, tra la la la la la la la. As October takes over, suddenly everyone is interested in next year's front yard. Since we live and garden in burning Texas, you might be interested in our most recent answer to the search for a lawn grass in our very hot and dry land. It has more links in it, and the references to water (or lack of same) probably won't interest you but the discussion of lawns per se might, so follow all the links until you get tired of the whole thing.

Next, we need to remind you that 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, Durham County, NC in north central North Carolina. And we have to tell you there are not many native grasses that fulfill the requirements of a lawn grass, but we will see what we can find. We will go to our Native Plant Database, scroll down on the page to Combination Search, then select on North Carolina for state, "grass or grasslike plants" for Habit and sun" for Light Requirements, and add the proviso of Height of 1" to 12". With this search, we got 4 results: Carex texensis (Texas sedge) (which really is native to North Carolina, too, honest), Cenchrus spinifex (Coastal sandbur), Cyperus lupulinus (Great plains flatsedge) (we don't even have a picture of this one in our Image Gallery) and Digitaria cognata (Carolina crabgrass). We are pretty sure you don't want crabgrass or sanburs in your lawn, so that leaves the Texas Sedge. You can follow the plant link above to our webpage on this sedge, and note the statement: "It can be mowed at a high setting." Note that it also tolerates some shade, which would be good for most of the people we hear from because they are looking for grass that will grow under trees. It does, however, also grow in sun and can take moist or dry conditions, which would fit your specifications.

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Coastal sandbur
Cenchrus spinifex

Carolina crabgrass
Digitaria cognata

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses to replace mondo grass in California
March 30, 2009 - Hello - I live in the Southern California coastal zone, and am looking for a drought resistant, turf alternative. My husband wants to use "Mondo Grass", but I know that is not native to the regi...
view the full question and answer

Replacing grass with native Texas sedges
March 24, 2005 - I have been trying to grow native Texas sedges instead of grass in my back yard for the last two years. Much of it is shaded by a canopy of elms, juniper, and oak. I have put a local organic fertili...
view the full question and answer

Burning back Gulf Muhly instead of trimming from San Antonio
December 19, 2011 - A few years ago I noticed that the Center burned back its Gulf Muhly rather than cutting it back. Did that study result in any conclusions or recommendations?
view the full question and answer

Will Habiturf work in Houston?
January 20, 2012 - I am looking to plant the parking strip between the sidewalk and street - about 6-7 feet wide. Would Habiturf work in Houston. The webside lists areas of Texas, but wasn't sure if Houston was incl...
view the full question and answer

Non-invasive, drought tolerant turf grass for Brownsville TX
May 22, 2010 - Since Bermudagrass is considered "invasive" by many in the industry, what drought tolerant, non-invasive turf grass would you recommend for South Texas lawns? (Brownsville area)
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