Neil Sperry: Buffalo grass may be a good option for the lawn | Local news

DEAR NEIL: Regarding mulching my plants, I applied cedar mulch around a few shrubs several years ago. Is it good “forever” or do I need to replace it every now and then?

Do I need to keep it away from plants to prevent fungi from growing? Can I also use the leaves of my trees and shrubs as mulch?

Dear reader: Mulches are good as long as they are still recognizable. Once they break down enough that you can’t identify what you started with, you need to cover them with more mulch.

You really don’t have to rake and remove the old mulch, unless it makes your landscape a bit sharper. As for tree leaves, once passed through the mower, they are ideal as short-term mulch, for example around shrubs, perennials and vegetables.

DEAR NEIL: What is the best grass for heavy shade? Is there perhaps a ground cover that could be mowed?

Dear reader: It’s a question that pops up here quite frequently, albeit in slightly different wording each time. I try to answer it several times, as it is such a common problem for gardeners in Texas.

St. Augustine is our most shade tolerant turf, but it needs 5-6 hours of direct sunlight in the summer to survive, more if you want it to grow vigorously.

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