Re-establishing vegetative growth & planting in October in Austin

Asked October 11, 2013, 6:39 PM EDT


We are renters and wish to improve our backyard surroundings without investing too much money into the property.

Our backyard is mostly shaded by a large, live oak tree and doesn't have much existing grass -- which I believe has caused some erosion. I have attached some pictures of this. There are some existing flowerbed areas that I could use, and also a dog run which receives much more light that seems like a good spot for a vegetable garden. We have pets, but can close this fenced area off so they do not interfere with the plants.

Would ryegrass direct seeding work well in this environment, at least to control some of the erosion? Also, I have looked through the Austin native planting guide, and am doing some research, but do not know whether any decorative plants are suitable for fall planting (shrubs, groundcover, etc.). Thanks!

Travis County Texas

3 Responses

Unfortunately, you will have difficulty establishing any new plantings in your situation. The area under the trees is far too shady, but perhaps more importantly, the soil is heavily compacted. But since rye grass seed is fairly inexpensive, you wouldn't have much to lose if you didn't get much germination.
From the photos, it looks like the "dog run" area has more sun, and might be suitable for planting vegetables and flowers. The flower bed that you have would perhaps be suitable for heavy shade tolerant plants, which you can find recommendations for in the plant guide that you mentioned.
As for planting in the fall, if you shop at any of our local nurseries, they should be able to help you choose plants that may be planted now. If it is in stock right now, in the fall, it can most likely be planted now and survive the winter.

Best of luck,


Thank you for the good advice. I put down ryegrass seed 6 days ago and have attached some photos as of today if you are interested.

Great! Glad to see that you've got a few spots filling in nicely. Anywhere that you can decrease erosion will help. Please don't hesitate to contact us with future questions.