Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 20, 2014

From: Robstown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Seeds and Seeding, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Use of hand-held seed spreader from Robstown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am planting native turf grass and prairie grasses as part of a backyard restoration on my 1.6 acre home site. My problem is good seed dispersal for the chaffey grass seeds. Have you have any luck with hand-held seed spreaders that do a good job of this? I have tried the "feed the chickens" method but am starving some of the chickens!

ANSWER:

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is very in favor of native turf and prairie grasses, and applauds your efforts. This member of the Smarty Plants Team has, we regret to say, no personal experience with seed dispersal, having managed in 60-some years of gardening to never get involved with planting a lawn. We don't know what grass mix you are using, but have lots of information on the preparation and planting of Habiturf - A multi-species grass mix for North, West and Central Texas from our Ecosystem Design Group.

Since you are in Nueces County, south Texas on the Gulf Coast, Habiturf might not be optimum for your region, but we feel the information on the grass mix, including some on hand-held seed spreaders might help you make the decision. Please read the article on Habiturf referenced above and especially note this paragraph:

"Sow.
Sow the seed — the small, hand-cranked seed broadcasters are great or by hand — and rake and press with a garden roller or your feet. Seeds need good soil contact. Spring is the best sowing time once soil temperatures warm up (day time temperatures constantly above 85F). Later in the growing season also works well but will require more water. Avoid sowing in late fall and winter (October through mid-March)."

When we don't know the answer to a question, we always resort to Google but, alas, there was nothing but advertisements under that heading. However, we thought that even some of those might be of help. Try this ad for Scotts Handy Green II Hand Held Broadcast Spreader.

Next, on your plans for prairie grasses, please read our How-To Article,  Recreating a Prairie. This is probably instruction for something larger scale than what you are attempting, but at least it's in the right direction.

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Seeds for India from Guilderland NY
August 15, 2010 - I have Green Cross “Non Profitable” trust in TamilNadu India. We are looking for free seeds from Government and other NGO foundations. Moto: Global Vowing awareness program and our volunteers help ...
view the full question and answer

Locating red clay for wildflower seed balls
September 26, 2007 - I am trying to locate a local source for the Powdered Red Clay spoke about in making wildflower seed balls. I live in Round Rock, Texas and have called many local nursery and no one knows what I am t...
view the full question and answer

Seedball Germination in Dallas, TX
May 27, 2015 - Last Fall we created thousands of seedballs with Lady Bird's wildflower seed mixture, compost and clay, and planted them along a bike trail in Dallas, Texas. We are so disappointed because nothing h...
view the full question and answer

When to stop mowing Habiturf for seeding from Austin
November 14, 2012 - I planted a native Habiturf lawn in my back yard last spring/summer and it is doing very well. The how-to mentions allowing the turf to seed out once per year to help maintain the lawn. Is there a bes...
view the full question and answer

Are Bluebonnet seeds still viable after storage for a year?
March 02, 2016 - I bought a pouch of Bluebonnets a year ago and now found them and have to wait to Fall to plant. Too old? Start over in purchase?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.