never lawn - Knowledgebase Question

bulverde, Te
Question by llcervan
September 20, 2009
What natural grass,even weed, can I use to make a lawn that will cover the dirt. I have tried everything, but drought and deer have made it hopeless

Answer from NGA
September 20, 2009


Here are a few suggestions for you. I've concentrated on native plants which should be maintenance free and thrive in your native soil. Once established, they will grow with only natural rainfall:
Buchloe dactyloides (Buffalo Grass); This native turfgrass is the perfect selection for those who don't like to water, fertilize, or mow. It spreads by above-ground runners, has a thin leaf blade, and grows to 6", sending up a thin, male flower about 2 inches above the leaves. The seeds are very large; you will need approximately 5 lbs. of seed/1000 sq. ft.

Koeleria glauca (Blue Hair Grass) - 8-12" Blue-gray foliage; no flowers. Evergreen. Most soils. The delicate blue foliage on this native bunch grass look best when plants are massed in the garden. Because it is evergreen, it adds color interest in winter, as well as summer. It is very drought tolerant.

Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf Muhly); 13-24" Lacy pink bloom mid-October. Well drained soils. The delicate shape and color of the fall bloom on this bunch grass show up best when massed in the garden or meadow. The pink color shows up beautifully when backlit against the morning or evening sun. Mow it in February to get rid of old stalks before the spring growth.

The following are taller, but might work in your situation:
Muhlenbergia reverchonii (Seep Muhly); 1- 2 ft. Pink airy blooms in fall. Will grow in rock. This is similar to Gulf Muhly but is better adapted to limestone soils. The pink, frothy bloom is showy and airy and is womderful when back-lit.

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland Sea Oats); 2-3 ft. Blooms June-October with open, drooping one-sided panicle of seeds up to 8" long. Deep, moist soils; tolerates wet conditions and shade. It spreads by rhizomes and can be invasive in a flower bed--it can quickly cover a large area. It is good in a moist, woodland area. It can tolerate some sun, but grows best in a shady spot. It is less aggressive in dry areas, but will need shade.

Aristida purpurea (Purple Threelawn); 2-3 ft. Lacy purple flowers in spring and fall. Most well drained soils; drought tolerant. The delicate purple flower plumes on this small bunch grass show up best when plants are grouped together in a mass. This is a good grass for a dry area. It is unique in that it send up flower plumes twice a season. Cut it back to encourage full second bloom.

Hope this list is helpful!

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