Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 25, 2006

From: Sparkill, NY
Region: Northeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native fescues and sedges for turf in New York
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, Came across your contact info while googling and hoped you could help answer a question or direct me to another resource that can. I am looking to redo my entire landscaping with native NY plants. I have been able to find some good resources for wildflowers and plants/trees. I am having a hard time finding any information about native grasses though. I am reducing the amount of 'grass/turf' on my property substantially, but do have one or two areas that I need to have a turf type grass on, for kids to play, etc., and small front yard area. I would like to know what my best bet is, if there are any grasse native to the area that would form a turf type lawn for these areas. I have seen some mention of gramma and little bluestem, etc., but they seem to have their drawbacks as well as benefits. I live in southern Rockland county, and my soil is very sandy, as the development was actually previously a commercial type sandpit years ago. Thank you for any recommendations or further resources you can recommend.

ANSWER:

There are a couple of possibilities that come to mind. One is the native fescues (Festuca spp.) that are low maintenance, require little mowing, and thrive in poor soils. Red fescue (Festuca rubra) is native to New York. There are other Festuca spp. native to New York that might also be suitable.

Another possibility is a sedge (Carex spp.) lawn. Of the five sedges named in the article, "Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape", two are native to New York—Pennsylvania sedge (Carex pensylvanica) and Texas (or Catlin) sedge (Carex texensis). Besides those named in the article, there are many other Carex spp. native to New York that also might be suitable.

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Need native grasses to re-introduce on land in Live Oak County, Texas.
July 21, 2009 - How do I find out what type of grass is native and how to reintroduce it (once we get some rain)? The area is southern Live Oak County approx 10 miles north of Orange Grove TX, about 2 miles from Lak...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a 45 degree slope in Falls Church, VA.
January 23, 2013 - Have a 45 degree hillside 50 feet wide by 60 feet long on north side of 26 story building. Very little sun with the need for soil retention plants. Would like a native plant or plants to cover area...
view the full question and answer

Hardy, inexpensive perennials for Mansfield, TX
March 12, 2008 - I am trying to fill two flowerbeds that are in full sun mostly and right next to the house. I want something that can live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and is pretty hardy. I also don't want to spe...
view the full question and answer

Retention pond from Hendersonville NC
April 24, 2012 - We have a retention pond that has recently been cleaned and we would like to plant perennial native plant and grass seeds that will enhance the appearance and contribute to the natural process of filt...
view the full question and answer

Replacing grass on steep hill in Georgia
June 16, 2009 - I live near Atlanta, Georgia. My yard is a steep hill, which makes mowing VERY challenging. If possible, I would like to remove the grass and plant something hardy that does not require mowing. What p...
view the full question and answer

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