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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 - March 29, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Herbs/Forbs, Vines
Title: South Austin Groundcovers for Oak Shade
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

Hi! I live in S. Austin now but used to work at the Wildflower Center! My backyard is shady with several oak mots. Do you have any suggestions as to what if any ground cover will grow in all that shade? Thanks, Peggy Budd

ANSWER:

Greetings Peggy,   Yes, Mr Smarty Plants remembers you fondly.   [Mrs Smarty Plants too!]

We've got lots of suggestions.  Your question is one of those on our top ten list, so I’m going to  refer you to a few of the better answers from the recent past.  Several of those refer to even earlier questions, so I expect you can easily find a few suggestions from this body of work that will be pleasing to you in your S. Austin lawn. 

Plants under Oak Trees in Austin TX
Sunny and shady lawns from Austin 
Groundcover for Austin yard
Tolerant Grasses and Groundcovers for Waco TX
Groundcovers for Kingsland TX

 My favorites are in the pictures below!

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Texas frogfruit
Phyla nodiflora

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Virginia creeper
Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Tievine
Ipomoea cordatotriloba var. cordatotriloba

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Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
February 21, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
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Ground covers for Denton, Texas
May 17, 2007 - Hi, I live in "The Colony", Texas. I want to have a garden that is evergreen and colorful and low maintenance. Also looking for ground covers as do not have time to remove weeds growing in the flow...
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Evergreen groundcover in Louisiana
November 17, 2009 - I need a suggestion for an evergreen groundcover plant that can tolerate moist soil. I want something that is low maintenance to go around a pergola in my backyard that gets mostly full sun.
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Benefits of Habiturf from Austin
August 19, 2013 - I have been reading about Habiturf and my question should be easy to answer. Is this is a grass you would recommend for kid play? Sitting on the lawn, kicking a soccer ball, etc. Any information a...
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Groundcover for Sunny Slope in CT
May 11, 2013 - I need a plant to use as groundcover and for erosion control on a sunny slope in southwestern Connecticut. Any suggestions other than juniper?
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