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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.

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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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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!

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Friday - February 24, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Drought Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Replacing St. Augustine with native grass in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are renting a house our Sister-in-law owns- the St Augustine is in tough shape, drought and lack of care over the years. Could we plant a native grass or do we have to pull up the remaining St. Augustine? If we have to tear it up, won't be able to do it,so we are looking for a way to convert to a Texas grass, and have it shared with St Augustine. Doable?

ANSWER:

Sorry, we don't much think so. St. Augustine is very widely used in Central Texas, but is native to Africa. It thrives in tropical areas with good rainfall. Doesn't sound much like Central Texas, does it? If it isn't watered and the rains don't come, it will die anyway, but that doesn't solve your problem. We don't blame you for not wanting to put the effort that would be required into a rental. We are going to link you to some of our articles to give you an idea of what would be involved.

Native Lawns

Native Lawns: Habiturf

These articles include information on removing the old lawn by various means, and what is needed to plant the new lawns.

 

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