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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.

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

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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!

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Monday - March 12, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Buffalograss as lawn replacement in Austin, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I have just moved into a house that has a yard full of weeds. I was planning on killing the existing ground cover and starting buffalo grass, when I came upon several articles on the web talking about Turffalo grass - a Texas Tech hybrid buffalo grass. What do you know about this new variety and would you recommend it in place of a native buffalo grass, in other words, is it worth the up front cost? I have heard that buffalo grass never grows in thick enough to choke out weeds and that weeding is always a concern with a buffalo grass yard, especially at the borders where neighboring yards still have Bermuda grass. Thanks for your advice.

ANSWER:

The Wildflower Center does have some Turffalo growing, but it has been in only a short time. Here is what our Director of Horticulture, Andrea DeLong-Amaya has to say about it:

"We planted some last spring that was donated to us by the company. It is featured in the Formal Home Owner Inspiration Garden and has filled in nicely after installation. It will be telling to see how it wears over time, but so far so good."

Joe Marcus, Wildflower Center horticulturist, says that for Turffalo, like all buffalo grass, weeding is going to be a concern.

Turfallo is the same species as any other cultivar of Buffalograss, Bouteloua dactyloides (formerly Buchloe dactyloides). It is simply a selection with improved growth characteristics and color. Buffalograss - Turfallo included - does not compete well with Bermudagrass in most situations.

You will have to answer the cost question for yourself. If you intend to use a Buffalograss of some flavor, then Turffalo may be a good choice. If you're on the fence about switching to Buffalograss, then you'll have a lot of issues, pro and con, to factor into the equation.

For comparisons of Turffalo with other varieties of buffalo , see Mean Turfgrass Quality and Other Ratings of Buffalo Grass.

 

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