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

Sunday - October 06, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for golf courses from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I may be working on two different golf courses and wanted to know if any native or hybrid native grasses would work for the fairways and rough areas? The rough areas are no problem as a number of grass species could work. The fairways have more specific requirements. They need to withstand traffic and mowing yet still provide enough coverage so the course is not overly fast (bouncy). I am considering some of the improved buffalo grasses and the hybrid Texas Blue grass like the improved forms of Reveille. Blue Grama may be a possibility but I am not sure how much it will fill in with constant mowing. Are there others I am overlooking?


This is a little out of the realm of experience for Mr. Smarty Plants. For instance, here is an article from eHow on Golf Course Grass Types for Texas. None of the plants listed in this article are even native to North America, much less Central Texas.

Ryegrass - from Aggie Horticulture, Ryegrass, Temporary  Sports Turf for the South.

Zoysiagrass - from Aggie Horticulture Zoysiagrass

Bentgrass - from Aggie Horticulture Bentgrass

Aggie Horticulture Bermudagrass

Habiturf, developed by the Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is our recommended native turf grass. Please read this website from the Wildflower Center on Habiturf, and follow the link to instructions for installing and maintaining the grass, which is a mix of three native Texas grasses. In that linked article, under "Mowing" please note this line:

"Mow once every 3 to 5 weeks when growing and not at all when drought or cold dormant. Mowing shorter —2 inches or less— will damage your lawn's health."

Only you can judge if this grass will fulfill your requirements. Follow the three links below to our webpages on the three grass components of Habiturf for more information on each:

Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)

Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama)

Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass)


From the Image Gallery

Bouteloua dactyloides

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Lorapetalum chinense from Driftwood TX
March 16, 2012 - In a previous response you said that it would not be wise to plant any trees with the word Chinese in it. Does this apply to Lorapetalum (Chinese Fringe Flower)? I would like to use this plant as a ...
view the full question and answer

Protecting plants from birds near bird feeder
April 24, 2009 - I am happy to have several cardinal pairs living in my yard, but I need to discourage them from eating & destroying my purple heart planted under the huge cedar that holds my bird feeders. The cardina...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a non-native lucky bamboo plant
July 05, 2014 - I have gotten a lucky bamboo plant which is kinda large and want to transplant but don't know how can you help me?
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Roses and Fruit Trees in NC
April 20, 2015 - Hello, I am planning a house on Lake Gaston in North Carolina (to be built) and will need to establish a new garden on the cleared lot. I would like to focus on native plants, but I love a cutting ga...
view the full question and answer

Planting non-native coastal bermudagrass in Portland TX
September 09, 2009 - How do you plant coastal grass?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center