Anyone with Dymondia margaretae in San Jose?

savoiu(9A (San Jose))April 28, 2014

I'm thinking of replacing some of the lawn with this. Has anyone done the same? How does it do with foot traffic? How about frost if any?


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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

How large of an area would you be replacing? I live in a different area of CA, but checked into using this plant. What others have experienced are mixed results. With dry, warm conditions the plant thrives and the bed looks great. But have an unusually wet winter, or longer/colder winter than is ideal for the plant, and you can lose large patches. They would replant, and the bed would just about be back up to filled-in lushness, when the next "not optimal" event would occur. Some gave up in frustration.

Success might depend upon your particular conditions and tolerance level for the down years. The plant is not going to like frost. Write off low/wet areas. This plant wants dry, rocky soil and heat. As for foot traffic, it can take light traffic. I believe it tolerates it a bit more when growing between stepping stones, where full compaction may not take place.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 12:17PM
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It is a super tough plant for me, I have had it in few different areas and never lost any to wetness or frost. It has a deep or thick root system, which I think makes it so tough.

There was so much of it,the grey seemed excessive, and I ended up replacing it with greens.

I moved it all to it's current place edging the front, but since there is a large elm tree there, succulents and the dymondia haven't shown any frost damage in the last few years.

Easily takes light foot traffic. Some of mine which grew in the path couldn't take heavy foot traffic.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 12:52AM
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savoiu(9A (San Jose))

Hi Gyr_Falcon, what temperature ranges do you (or the others you were referring to) get? I got some frost in my yard in all 4 winters that I have been there for. Nothing major (27F was the lowest) but it's there.

I'm looking to replace a good chunk of my lawn that's interspersed with newly planted trees and a garden bed.


This post was edited by savoiu on Wed, Apr 30, 14 at 12:43

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 12:32PM
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savoiu(9A (San Jose))

Hi elvie, it sounds encouraging. Where do you live, if you don't mind? What temperature ranges? My area is currently pretty open to the sky so I do get frost every winter so far.

I'm planning to use it to replace a good portion of my lawn that does not get much foot traffic (in an around newly planted fruit trees/garden bed). I'll place some stepping stones as well to allow more foot traffic in some specific areas.

Can you comment on water usage compared to "traditional" lawn?


    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 12:37PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

Gosh, it was more than a few years ago when I was getting the information from other growers; I don't recall now where they lived. The one patch I have been watching first hand is in Sunset zone 22. It is growing about 6'-12" above a drainage area, is in full sun, and it gets no traffic. But I have only been watching it for a couple of years. It appears to be thriving, but you know how CA's winters have been recently...

The thing with temperatures can be tricky. 1-2 nights at 27F is a lot different than 14 nights of 30F, for example. I'm afraid I don't know beyond the general information that was passed on to me when I was asking about growing it. Sorry I cannot be more helpful.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 4:47PM
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Where in the heck in San Jose is zone 8b???. Do you live on top of Mount Hamilton?. If your in the flats or slightly elevated,you are 9b-10a. Sunset zone 17.
Dymondia is not good for any foot traffic. A local gas station had it planted on mounds of landscaping where it covered well...then people started walking on it. It got so bad they now just mulch.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 4:40PM
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bahia(SF Bay Area)

Dymondia does well throughout the Bay Area in Sunset zones 15/16/17, and will easily take occasional light frost to about 27ðF, but has a range down to 25ðF with damage. Like others have said, if you regularly get days of frost over the winter, I'd start with a smaller sized area and see how it does in your situation. It does take light foot traffic well, not a fair comparison to use the example of a public planting where footpaths form between shrubs, that is intensive regular foot traffic along the same spot; which few ground covers will handle. Be forewarned that it really pays to eliminate all weeds before planting this, as Bermuda and other grasses can play havoc. Great and low care once filled in, probably best in Sunset zones 16/17 and least frosty 15. I've also seen it in 14, but expect some winter die off.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:30AM
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savoiu(9A (San Jose))

Hi stanofh, I've seen my area get 8B,9A or 9B. I'll go with 9A for now :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:35AM
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savoiu(9A (San Jose))

Thanks bahia. I might just get it started closer to the house where frost is lighter.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 1:36AM
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