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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.

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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.

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Sunday - September 04, 2011

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for shady yard in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I was looking at your research on native grasses to be used in a yard. I want to plant your native mix of seeds, but worry that there is too much shade in my yard. I live in central Austin and wanted to know how I determine if I have too much shade? I also wanted to know if there is company out there where I can purchase the seed and have them prep my yard and plant. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

We will have to tell you that the native turf grasses all depend on quite a bit of sun. Begin by charting your yard as regards the amount of sun on each area. This will require your checking various areas of the property at various times of the day. This time of year you will undoubtedly have more sun that ordinarily, except in the shade of large deciduous trees or structures. Generally speaking, we consider "full sun" to be 6 or more hours of sun a day. "Part shade" is 2 to 6 hours of sun, and "shade" is 2 hours or less of sun.

You have probably already read our How-To Articles on native turf grasses, but here are links to them for you or others who might be considering the same thing:

Native Lawns: Buffalograss

Native Lawns: Multi-Species

There are links in each article to our webpages on the individual grasses,

As for purchase of the seed and/or contractors go to our National Suppliers Directory, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list in your general area of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and landscape consultants.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

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