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

Tuesday - October 15, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Questions on non-native St. Augustine from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I have St. Augustine grass in my yard. I am having work done in my yard soon, which will require new sod. I know the St. Augustine has to take root in the ground before the first freeze, to assure that the new sod will not die. About how long does it take for St. Augustine to become well-rooted at this time of year?


Sorry, wrong number. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are to be grown; in your case, Travis County, TX. Stenotaphrum secundatum, St. Augustine grass, is believed to be originally native to Africa.

Here are a few resources we wish you would look at before you decide what sod to put down:

Austin Statesman, Sept.18, 2011 - Austin will pay to let St. Augustine die, sow a less thirsty lawn.

New York Times, August 12, 2013 - Arid Southwest Cities Plea: Lose the Lawn

Follow this link to our article on Habiturf - Species Mix for North, West and Central Texas. Then, you would probably be interested in our article Native Lawns. This includes some pictures and some research information comparing Habiturf with other, non-native, lawns.



More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Thunderturf turning brown in Dallas
November 16, 2014 - Thunder Turf turning brown in Dallas, TX: Hi there. I planted new Thunder Turf seed in my entire back yard this past spring. It grew incredibly strong and abundant all summer until about September ...
view the full question and answer

Bunch grasses for labyrinth that are good for livestock
September 29, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm designing an outdoor labyrinth that will be in full sun in our black Slidell clay soil here in north central Texas. The area MAY be mowed for hay at a later date (i.e...
view the full question and answer

Non-native, and/or invasive bermudagrass, St. Augustine and Pistache from Houston
September 24, 2012 - Our St. Augustine lawn died suddenly this summer from either chinch bugs or grub worms (or both?), and a multitude of weeds and native Bermuda have taken over the area. Now that the weather has cooled...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for horses in Manor, TX
January 20, 2011 - Hi, Can you tell me which native grasses to plant that would grow (and be drought tolerant) in the Manor area. The area we would like to plant seeds has some sun and part shade. There appear to be so...
view the full question and answer

Turf for high-traffic area in Austin
April 21, 2012 - I am building a large soccer field at my preschool in Austin, TX in a full sun area. What type of grass would be best for me to use given that it will be a very high-traffic area with lots of direct ...
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