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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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Friday - January 25, 2008

From: Splendora, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grass for Splendora, Texas.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have a newly built house on a two acre lot in Splendora (zip code 77372). We would like to seed (the best choice) for grass. What about centipede or buffalo grass? The soil is a sand with clay 4 feet underneath. Also, we have "critter holes" that we can't figure out. I know what crawfish "towers" look like (we have a few), but, these others are a mystery. They are up to 2 - 3 inches wide & seem to have a least two entrances. I'm hoping they aren't snake holes!! Any ideas? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), but not Eremochloa ophiuroides (centipede grass) since it is not native to North America and what we are all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "...to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes." Buffalograss does very well in the sun and in partial shade, requires very little water, and doesn't need mowing very often. Please see our article "Native Lawns" for help in establishing a native lawn.

You might also consider using one of the sedges (e.g., Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge), Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge) or Carex texensis (Texas sedge)) in place of grass for your lawn. For more on the advantages of replacing grass with sedges read Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape by John Greenlee.

There are several plants that aren't grasses or sedges that will also work as groundcovers; for instance, Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy), Geum canadense (white avens), and Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit).

Now for those critter holes, have you considered that they could be made by moles or gophers? I think this, or some other rodent, is more likely than snakes; but, without seeing a picture of them, I'm afraid that's about the best I can do. You might check with your Montgomery County Extension Office to see if they have any ideas for you.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Carex cherokeensis

Carex blanda

Carex texensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

Phyla nodiflora

 

 

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