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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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Monday - March 19, 2007

From: AUSTIN, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses as low-water option for ranch yard
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

We have a weekend ranch in LLano Texas and are looking for a grass to plant in the front yard. (approx 3/4 acre) The house is very small and cute but not a real big fancy house. We do have a fence around the yard. The soil is the sandy clay you see all over the Llano area. We do not have a sprinkler system and we do go as long as 3 weeks without being able to get up to the ranch. What are my Options? I had looked at Buffalo grass (expensive) & King Ranch Blue Stem (may grow to high and fast & look to wild for my wife) I don't know. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME

ANSWER:

Have you thought about replacing your turf with a wildflower meadow? With a careful selection of native grasses and spring-blooming, summer-blooming and fall-blooming wildflowers, you can create an area that is attractive year-round and requires a minimum of water and care. See the article, "Wildflower Meadow Gardening", in our Native Plant Library. while you are there, take a look at the article on "Native Lawns". It has some good suggestion on that topic including a procedure for sowing Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) seed which is much less expensive than using buffalo grass sod. Finally, Mr. Smarty plants hopes you will seriously reconsider using King Ranch bluestem which is not native to Central Texas and is considered to be an invasive species by many authorities in Texas.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides
 

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