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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - March 20, 2016

From: Arlington, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: How much shade will Thunder Turf (Habiturf) take?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

How much shade will Thunder Turf take?

ANSWER:

Not much!  Thunderturf, or Habiturf, as it is also called, needs a minimum of six hours of direct light to grow well. It will grow somewhat sparsely if given strong indirect light below a high tree canopy.  We know of no native turf grass that thrives in shade.  You would be well advised to consider a non-grass ground cover in shady areas.  Paspalum setaceum (Thin paspalum) is a bunch grass that is common in Central Texas and should occur in shady areas of Arlington.  Its compact roseate form is mowable, but some find the 12-15 inch-high seed stalks unattractive.  Grass-like sedges do grow well in shade.

Here are several groundcovers that will grow in the shade.  Except for the two grasses, they are semi-evergreen or evergreen.

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy) is evergreen to semi-evergreen. "Evergreen in areas with mild or no winter, deciduous in areas with cold winters."

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit) is semi-evergreen.

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel) is evergreen to semi-evergreen.

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge) is evergreen.

Carex texensis (Texas sedge) is evergreen.

Salvia lyrata (Lyreleaf sage) is semi-evergreen.

Ruellia humilis (Fringeleaf wild petunia) is evergreen.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) dies back in winter but is perennial.  This grass grows in clumps and can reach 2 feet or more, but is very attractive.

Muhlenbergia schreberi (Nimblewill) dies back in winter but is perennial.

If you decide to go with Thunderturf (Habiturf), check out this how-to article (https://www.wildflower.org/habiturf/) on our website.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

Golden groundsel
Packera obovata

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Lyreleaf sage
Salvia lyrata

Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Prairie petunia
Ruellia humilis

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