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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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Will Habiturf be chicken feed from New Caney TX
November 21, 2013 - How well does your recommended native turf grass mix hold up against chickens or do double duty as feed? I have a mixed use property that will house Rabbits, Poultry (chickens/duck/geese), and ev...
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Practicality of Cedar Elm and buffalo grass in clay soil in East Texas
July 31, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in Katy Texas on what used to be a rice field. The soil either has a lot of clay in it or in places is just solid clay. Will any kind of buffalo grass grow here? I'v...
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Groundcovers for Kingsland TX
October 11, 2012 - I am looking for a list of native ground covers and grasses(not lawn grass).
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Clearing up the nativity of so-called Baltimore sedge (Carex senta)
November 12, 2009 - Dear Smarty Pants: Hi, did you ever get more clarity on the Carex senta issue (baltimore sedge)? Whether or not it was a wetland grass? I too am in Maryland and was thinking of planting it for a law...
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Need plants for a ecoregion prairie project in Cleburne, TX
October 30, 2014 - I have a ecoregion prairie project in which students are to plant from pots a small area so visitors might see what the seeded area will become. We are struggling to find potted plants. HELP
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