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

Native turf grass for Arlington, VA.
September 10, 2015 - Hi, could you please provide me with a recommendation for a native turf grass to plant in a large commercial area in Arlington, Virginia. Currently Kentucky 31 is being used, but we would like to iden...
view the full question and answer

Need name of company with experience in Habiturf installation in Round Rock, TX.
January 24, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I read the article about "NATIVE LAWNS: HABITURF™ A MULTI-SPECIES MIX FOR NORTH, WEST AND CENTRAL TEXAS" Do you know any landscape companies/groups in Austin - Round Ro...
view the full question and answer

Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
May 12, 2010 - I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?
view the full question and answer

Planting Habiturf in Houston, TX>
March 08, 2012 - First, I want to say thank you for such an informative site. You say that the Buffalograsses tend to do well in drier and well drained soil. My house has a lawn that drops about 10 inches in about...
view the full question and answer

Grassburs in native lawn in Utopia TX
June 22, 2010 - I recently planted native Texas grass (Buffalograss, blue grama & curly mesquite) at my new house in the hill country. I had to bring in all the top soil. The grass is doing great, but in one area o...
view the full question and answer

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