Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - October 26, 2009

From: PORTAGE, MI
Region: Midwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Small perennials & grasses for a naturalized lawn
Answered by: Anne Bossart

QUESTION:

I am looking for native perennials and grasses that will grow no more than 8 inches tall that can be used in a naturalized lawn in Michigan. What 5 plants would be your first choice?

ANSWER:

That is a very tall order ... because most suitable plants would be much taller as they are prairie plants. But here are few selected from our Recommended Species list. 

Some of them are woodland plants which may not thirive if your lawn is too sunny and dry.  If you click on the link and do the search, you may find plants who have shorter relatives in the nurseries.  You may also have some luck if you search out rock garden plants.

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Cornus canadensis (bunchberry dogwood)

Dalea purpurea (purple prairie clover)

Sisyrinchium montanum (strict blue-eyed grass)

Viola pedata (birdfoot violet)


Carex pensylvanica

Cornus canadensis

Dalea purpurea

Sisyrinchium montanum

Viola pedata
 

More Turf Questions

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
view the full question and answer

Native buffalograss in sandy loam
April 19, 2008 - I am in the Austin area and want to plant Native Texas Buffalo Grass in sandy loam from the Colorado River bed. Will this work?
view the full question and answer

Cause of yellowing buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
June 07, 2008 - We are getting large yellow areas in our buffalo grass lawn and think this is probably due to grub worms. Are grub worms the likely culprit and if so, what is the best way to get rid of them? We don...
view the full question and answer

Why are there no low-mow lawn grasses composed of only native fescues?
September 09, 2014 - Dear SP, Most blends of ecograss I see are a combination of non-native and native fescues (and sometimes buffalo grass, blue grama, etc.). Why are there (apparently) none that are composed entirely of...
view the full question and answer

Low water lawn for Austin
September 01, 2009 - I am interested in finding out more about low water lawns and was wondering if you have resources you might suggest. We have replanted with varying types of grass several times and my front lawn cont...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.