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
1 rating

Thursday - June 14, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Distinguishing Bermuda grass from Buffalo grass
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Dick Davis

QUESTION:

Is Bermuda grass taking over my Buffalo grass lawn? I recently sodded a small area of Buffalo Grass 'Prairie' (last fall). It's doing beautifully, or so I think. There are stolons running and reaching all over the place. How can I tell if these are Buffalo grass stolons or stolons of the nasty, nasty Bermuda grass??

ANSWER:

Distinguishing between the stolons of the two species is difficult unless there are flowers present. Both show variable "hairiness" around the nodes and leaf sheaths so this feature is not going to be definitive. The nodes on buffalograss tend to be a bit more swollen with several leaves emerging from them instead of one or a very few; however, if you don't have stolons from both species for comparison, this is going to be difficult to determine. The flowers, however, are very different. Bermuda has a windmill-like infloresence with 2 to 7 branches. Buffalo usually has separate male and female plants. The male flowers are flag-like banners standing above the leaf blades and the female flowers are somewhat hidden amongst the leaves, rounded and burr-like, but not spiny. If you see any bermuda flowers, you can pull up that clump and all attached runners, and then have these as a sample to compare for further control efforts.

Here are a few "visuals" to help you. Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), which has just had its botanical name changed from Buchloe dactyloides, has both pistillate (female) plants and staminate (male) plants. Here are more photos of buffalograss. Cynodon dactylon (Bermuda grass) has both the male and female flowers (perfect flowers) on a single plant. Here is the line drawing for the Cynadon dactylon (Bermuda grass) plant.

 


 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Identification of grasses for grazing from La Luz NM
November 05, 2012 - I live in southern New Mexico. I have pictures of a few types of grass that I can't find anyone to help me identify with a name for livestock food. Can you help me with it? If so I can send the pi...
view the full question and answer

Plants resistant to salt spray in FL
December 18, 2011 - What type of plants can I put in a small planter bed next to a waterfall with a saltwater pool? Everything I put in there dies. I live in Southwest Florida.
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for a sandy Maryland yard
June 10, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Severn (AA County) where we have sandy soil and on a well/septic system. Can you tell me a native grass I can seed in my yard? Something hardy and does not require a ...
view the full question and answer

Grass mixture for Spicewood TX
August 14, 2012 - I want to seed a bare sand limestone area about 2 acres in size. Assuming "normal" Texas hill country weather and the availability of moderate water for sprinkling is there one mixture that you reco...
view the full question and answer

Color year round, welcome to Austin Texas.
December 04, 2011 - I am new to Austin and want to plant colorful flowers for fall and winter that get a "wow" reaction. I have not seen much at the local nurseries. Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!
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