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

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
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Low height, drought tolerant grass for Central Texas
January 22, 2010 - What is the best drought tolerant grass for Central Texas that can be used as a low height lawn? I remember seeing a news account (Austin TV) about some UT research at the Wildflower Center that deve...
view the full question and answer

Need to stabilize a south facing slope in Henderson, NC
April 30, 2010 - Hi, I have a south facing slope that is heavy clay with rock under it. It gets a lot of sun. I have planted a few bushes and some ground cover, but with all the snow and rain we had this past winter, ...
view the full question and answer

Need something to compete with Virginia wild rye in Bristol, TN.
July 29, 2011 - I have been working for 4 years to convert a large area of sunny lawn (150' x 40') to a native woodland planting, using native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses. Although I used seeds of a variety ...
view the full question and answer

Will Thunder Turf do well in shade from Iola TX
June 23, 2010 - Will the Thunder Turf do well in shady areas or is there a better blend of native grasses that would thrive better?
view the full question and answer

Using corn gluten to suppress weeds in buffalo grass, blue grama and curly mesquite
March 22, 2010 - I own a home in central Austin and am replacing my St. Augustine lawn with a native grass blend of Buffalo, Blue Grama, and Curly Mesquite as a pre-emptive attack for the inevitable drought conditions...
view the full question and answer

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