En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - July 05, 2014

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Mowing Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Although I see you have posted some information about mowing Buffalograss it doesn't seem to answer my question. Will it hurt to mow the buffalograss flags off? Will that keep seeds from being produced? We have tall weed grass mixed in with our buffalo grass and I don't want him to mow the Buffalograss at all. We live in round Rock in Williamson county. We have a large backyard, the Buffalograss is not watered, and has patches of wildflowers growing in it. Thank you for all you do!

ANSWER:

Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) is a dioecious plant with male and female reproductive structures on separate plants.  (Occasionally, it is monoecious with male and female reproductive structures on the same plant, but in separate flowers.)  Please look at the 6 photos below from our Image Gallery.  The first three are from the female plants and you can see that the flowers are on a very short stalk down within the grass leaves.  The last three photos are the male plants with their pollen producing flowers on tall stalks that are elevated well above the leaves of the grass.  What you are seeing as flags on your buffalograss are the male, pollen-producing, reproductive structures.  If you search within the leaves of the grass you will probably find the female, seed-producing flowers.  If you read our How to Article, Native Lawns: Buffalograss, you will see that the recommendation is to not cut the buffalograss shorter than three inches.  Also, read the mowing suggestions in Native Lawns: Habiturf® a Multi-Species Mix for North, West and Central Texas.  By now the pollen from the flags on your grass has probably reached the female flowers and it would not affect seed production to mow the flags off.  You should be able to mow to 3 or 4 inches without mowing off the female flowers and seeds and affecting seed production.   However, you can check the height of your female flowers and decide how high to mow.  You should remember, too, that mowing the wildflower blossoms before the seed has been set and dispersed from them will affect the propagation of next season's wildflowers.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

More Turf Questions

Cause of yellowing buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
June 07, 2008 - We are getting large yellow areas in our buffalo grass lawn and think this is probably due to grub worms. Are grub worms the likely culprit and if so, what is the best way to get rid of them? We don...
view the full question and answer

Bermuda grass and St. Augustine for lawn in Hawaii
June 21, 2009 - Is bermuda grass and st.augustine grass a good mixture for my backyard lawn?
view the full question and answer

Native lawn grass for El Paso
April 24, 2011 - I am new to the El Paso area and my front and back yards are currently mostly dirt with a tiny bit of dying (thank goodness) bermuda grass. I want to seed both yards with something that will grow well...
view the full question and answer

Low-growing lawn substitute for Pennsylvania
March 19, 2008 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants Please help. We are moving to an old farm house in Western Pennsylvania with several acres of lawn. Our plan is to return much of the land to wildlife friendly meadows and woo...
view the full question and answer

Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides) and buffalo grass mixes
October 05, 2007 - I live in Austin, TX and have visited the Wildflower Center in the past and enjoyed the display of native grass mixes. Can you tell me about the variations of buffalograss mixes... which ones are most...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center