Horse herb

tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)September 16, 2010

I'm trying to convert a good portion of my backyard from St. Augustine with some Bermuda to something native that doesn't require the water/mowing. Most of the area is part shade to mostly shade underneath red oaks. I planted a number of pots of horseherb this spring underneath one tree. As I was mowing the yard today (first time I've mowed it myself in a while) I noticed that I have a number of volunteer patches of horseherb. There is a goodly amount of weeds that have come in since I've not watered the grass enough, mostly dallis grass. What can I do to help the horseherb spread without having the weeds spread? And, yes, I know horseherb can be considered a weed! :)

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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

The only thing I can think of is to use a product like Ortho's "Grass B Gone" on the grasses and pull the other weeds. When Horse herb gets thick it will pretty much crowd out everything else. It's done that in the utility easement in back of my house and I didn't even plant it there. But I like it. It's formed a very nice thick ground cover with no help from me! All we do is mow it once in a while.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:26PM
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roselee z8b S.W. Texas

There is a photo of the Horse herb growing in back on our house on this link.

Here is a link that might be useful: looking for a short, drought tolerant groundcover

    Bookmark   September 16, 2010 at 9:41PM
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It's such a pretty evergreen I love it. Thank you for the picture roselee

I'm converting my backyard. I take a shovel and move a clump here and there when we get a wet spell. I have Dallis grass too, I take the same shovel and just turn some over when I'm in the mood.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 12:07AM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

We let horseherb grow in the backyard where it appeared on its own. It grows especially well in the shade and is much better than turf grass on our thin soil over rock here in north San Antonio. The horseherb died back a bit in the summer heat, but is quickly returning now.

We were trying to remove it for a while. Then we realized that it looks better than anything else and decided to leave it. Recently, through some posts here on GW, I learned the name of it and that many people allow it to grow instead of lawn.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 1:25PM
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It came up volunteer in the strip of yard between the sidewalk and the street. I hate that strip of yard, it is such a pain to water, so usually I don't and it doesn't look very good. Last year this little green ground cover started up in that strip and I finally figured out it was horse herb. I didn't water it, but it made it through last year's brutal summer. Oh and it is in full west sun too. This summer it came back strong and of course, it looks even better since we've had more rain. I'm hoping by next summer that it will take over the entire strip. It really looks nice!

I also planted some under a tree in my back yard, since I was told it grows even better in the shade. I sure hope so! It looks GREAT!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 11:21PM
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Bryan Scott

My house sits on a third acre lot. At least half my lawn is horseherb. Of that half, about 90% of it is very very shaded due to oak trees. I never water the horse herb- the rain that we have gotten this year has been quite enough to keep me mowing it nearly every week to week and a half. During August, when we did not get that much rain, growth slowed, but it kept on growing. I do have some that gets full on sun all day long, and the heat killed it off for a month, but it has come back full force for September.

Do I like it?: It's a nice ground cover, especially under my trees where I can't get grass to grow.
Do I prefer it to grass?: No, I love nothing more than a fresh cut grass lawn, however, the watering requirements for horseherb not even a fraction of what it takes for my St. Augustine.

In general, I used to completly hate horseherb. It's starting to grow on me, however, but it's very very invasive. Once it gets growing, it will spread like wildfire.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:41PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

Thanks everyone!

I understand the love of a fresh cut grass lawn, I do think they can be pretty and lovely to walk on. If I got enough rain to keep it alive, and the summer heat didn't terrorize it, and I didn't have to mow it at least once a week, I'd keep it. However, we don't get enough rain and it really doesn't like our summers, and even when I can afford to water it enough to keep it green during the summer to me it just seems like a waste of water that we could drink, or otherwise use indoors.

I'm glad that it spreads quickly further south, hopefully it'll do the same up here! And it's even better that it'll take full Texas sun!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 4:11PM
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Bryan Scott

I just noticed you live in Lewisville. I used to live just off the intersection of FM 407 and I-35E (close to the Lewisville Bridge). If it weren't for moving back closer to family, would have stayed in Lewisville.

On the horseherb, I never planted mine- it just showed up one day, and has taken over half my lawn in about one year (mulch-mowing has helped make this happen). Anyways, once you get it growing, you'll hardly have to water it. And, because it does a great job at filtering out light, I never have seen any weeds in mine (keeps the seeds from germinating).

Good luck with it and post some pics of what you end up going with when you get it established. I'll take some of mine soon for you to see before I mow it in the next couple of days. It's in full bloom again right now due to the recent rain in the past couple of weeks.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:19AM
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freshair2townsquare(z7/8, D/FW)

tx_ag_95 ~

How did it do for you during the drought of 2011?
Did it spread as well as you hoped?
Has it been invasive?

~ freshair

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 3:39PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

It's spread, not as quickly as I'd hoped, but I didn't water much last year AND I think it was being mowed too short. If I remember correctly it went dormant during the worst part of summer and then came back when it got cooler. Or maybe it's just that *I* moved inside with the air conditioning! It's happy as can be right now.

As far as being invasive, it hasn't gone anywhere I didn't want it to, yet. However, my brother's neighbor let her backyard convert to horseherb and it spread across two flower beds and a chainlink fence to infiltrate his yard and he wasn't too happy about it.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:33AM
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freshair2townsquare(z7/8, D/FW)

I'm considering horseherb has a lawn alternative for a portion of my backyard, but I've read that you'll either love it or hate it, that it'll be perfect or nightmarish. What to do . . . what to do . . .

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:10PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

The only advice I can give is to look at Roselee's link and picture and see if that's a look you like. It is NOT grass. But, I think it's pretty and it does get delicate little yellow flowers.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 8:27PM
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PKponder TX(7b)

I like it because it grows in denser shade than st Augustine but it's in no way a grass look, just greener than dirt :-)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:29PM
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tx_ag_95(7/8 Lewisville)

PK's right, it grows well in shade AND it does well in part sun...TEXAS part sun, that is! The areas I've had it spread best in haven't received FULL sun but do receive SOME sun. And she's right, it does NOT look like grass, BUT it's green and soft and you can walk on it sometimes. It doesn't like constant or semi-constant traffic so it wouldn't be good for a pathway, but you (or your pets/children) can walk on it and it'll be OK.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2012 at 9:46PM
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during the drought I lost a lot of St Augustine. I purchase a spot repair seed package and I guess it contained Horse Herb. Anyway, it started taking over my yard. At first I was upset and trying to find ways to get ride of the horse herb, but after a while it started looking pretty good, and not much need for mowing. Now I'm sold on it. I did find that horse herb doesn't like a car parked on it. The heat from the car makes the horse herb die pretty quickly. BUT just a little water and it's back. Excellent ground cover that doesn't take my care or watering

    Bookmark   April 8, 2013 at 11:53AM
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