Roots, Shoots, Fruits & Flowers: Lawn Recovery, Bluebonnets, & Another Large Pecan Tree

107 fig 1 dead patchjpg

Dead patch of St. Augustine grass after storm debris was removed. Photo: Keith Hawkins, LSU AgCenter.

Lawn Recovery

Joe, like many of us, is recovering from Hurricane Laura and sent this email, “[I] lost a magnificent red Oak, and… [it] laid there for about a month killing all the grass and demolishing my yard, then [the tree crew] tore up yard with a small [skid steer loader] with treads.

Anyway... I am going to get topsoil to fill the ruts, but I have several hundred square feet of nothing but dirt, it was Augustine [grass]. So, I wonder whether to leave it to nature or get some pallets of St. Augustine [sod].

[My] questions [are]:

1. Is it okay to lay sod at this time of year? I can get a hose and lawn sprinkler to it.

2. [Do you have] any idea where I can get any sod?”

AHA responded to question one, “Yes, fall is a good season for establishing sod. You will need to till up the soil for good contact with roots. Here is a link with some guidance on re-stablishing St. Augustine: Louisiana Home Lawn Series: St. Augustinegrass.” This publication is available online at If homeowners have centipede, zoysia or Bermuda grass, then they can also look up the Louisiana Home Lawn Series about restoring their turf after debris removal.

For the second question, AHA also referred Joe to a local retail nursery that sells sod. Homeowners who are looking for sod to rehabilitate their yards after Hurricane Laura can visit the Louisiana Turfgrass Association’s website to find their nearest sod farm. Figure 1. Dead patch of St. Augustine grass after storm debris was removed. Photo: Keith Hawkins, LSU AgCenter.

107 fig 2 bluebonnetsjpg

Bluebonnets can grow in Louisiana. Photo: USGS, "Plants of Louisiana.


Chris Ann, like Joe, lost trees and wants to try a new look for her landscape, “I live in DeRidder and have lost many trees in Hurricane Laura. Would bluebonnets grow here? I was thinking of putting wildflowers in the backyard. There is a gulf blend of wildflowers on Amazon. What are your thoughts on the subject? Thanks so much.”

According to a website of the US Geological Survey, “Plants of Louisiana”, the answer to Chris Ann’s question, yes, bluebonnets will grow in Louisiana. A visit to the website of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, will provide an article, “How to Grow Texas Bluebonnets”. This webpage covers when to plant, how to plant, and how to maintain your bluebonnets.

107 fig 3 former champion pecan treejpg
Former LA champion pecan tree. Photo: Megan Smith, Smith Farms.

Another Large Pecan Tree

Deborah emailed a narrative and a question about large pecan trees, “Hi. [I] read article about "champion" pecan tree. [I] was wondering where to find info on largest pecan tree in the state. I inherited property where a LARGE pecan tree exists, [so I am] just curious how big the largest known one is ...measure circumference about 4 feet up from that correct? I think this one is about 17 feet in circumference. Thanks.”

The Louisiana Forestry Association, maintains the listing of state champion trees. A champion tree is the largest known tree of each species of a native or naturalized tree. Even small tree species like the flowering dogwood or the redbud could be champions if they are large for their species. Three measurements are needed to determine if a tree is a champion:

  • Circumference at 4.5 feet above grade.
  • Total height.
  • Average crown spread.

These numbers are entered into a formula to come up with a score. Currently, a pecan tree in Caddo Parish is the current state champion, and here are its measurements:

  • Circumference: 17’ 6”
  • Total height:102’
  • Average crown spread:344’

Deborah’s pecan tree may be competitive for state champion if the height and if the average crown spread is greater than the respective measurements of the Caddo champion pecan.

If you want to contact Roots, Shoots, Fruits and Flowers, please send your questions and pictures to Keith Hawkins, Area Horticulture Agent (AHA), 337-463-7006 or Also, you can be on the “green thumbs” email list by emailing your request to the address above.

“Before you buy or use an insecticide product, first read the label, and strictly follow label recommendations. Mention of trade names or commercial products in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement by Louisiana State University AgCenter.”

“This work has been supported, in part, by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Renewable Resources Extension Act Award, Accession Number 1011417.”

10/14/2020 4:00:53 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture