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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 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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Tuesday - April 02, 2013

From: Heath , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Xeriscapes, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Starting over on a lawn in Heath TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Unless one counts dichondra as grass I have more weeds than grass in my yard.I have hand pulled the weeds and used an organic program without success. The soil is a hard clay typical of North Texas. I need suggestions about how to proceed this spring. I'm considering tearing out the lawn and starting over. There is a sick mixture of bermuda grass and St. Augustine growing feebly among the weeds. Suggestions about how to proceed will be welcome

ANSWER:

Actually,  non-native bermudagrass is so invasive that it is considered one of the worst weeds in the South, and non-native St. Augustine needs so much water that it is definitely not a good thing in Texas, so we are not that sorry you are about to give up on them both. We have received several questions from gardeners saying they are so over grass.

However, for gardeners in some parts of Texas, including North Texas, Kaufman and Rockwall Counties, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has developed a mix of native grasses into a sustainable lawn, called Habiturf. Please follow the link to our article about this grass mix, and then follow all the links within it and watch the video. It does best if it is planted during the Spring, so now would be a good time to be thinking about it. It requires sun about 50% of the day, so if your yard is heavily shaded you might want to consider our next suggestion - xeriscaping. From eartheasy, see this article on ways to xeriscape.

Begin with this previous Mr. Smarty Plants question on a non-grass solution for a problem space. Follow the links in this answer also. This particular area is in Austin where the homeowner did not particularly want a lawn grass.

Hopefully, this will give you two avenues to "starting over," one to a different grass and one to a different type of garden.

 

 

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