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

Friday - July 06, 2007

From: Rocky Ford, CO
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Maintenance of Blue grama in early stages
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am seeding my large back yard with blue grama - 30-45 minutes of almost daily hand weeding for two months keeps me from falling too far behind on the green foxtail, bindweed, elm tree seedlings, pigweed, ragweed etc etc --- yet it's getting rather boring and tiring - now I am developing several pesky sections of annual bluegrass - is there a post emergent that can knock these sections back until I can use a preemergent in the fall and spring?

ANSWER:

Alas, you are facing the Gardener's Dilemma-you prepare a large area with ideal conditions for plants to grow and then the wrong plants come up. The standard response to this is that a weed is just a plant in the wrong place. But that's not what you want to hear. And you also don't want to hear that hand weeding is the most effective and earth-friendly way to remove said unwanted plants. Blue grama is an excellent choice for a native lawn grass and is most effectively planted by seeding. In your climate and elevation in Southeastern Colorado it should form sod and be a perennial. Like its near relative, Bouteloua gracilis (buffalograss), often planted with blue grama, it is a high maintenance lawn, especially in the early stages. As you water and fertilize those seeds, many opportunistic weed seeds are waiting in the soil for the same tender loving care.

While herbicide intervention may be possible for some of the plants that are dicots or broad-leaved plants, the bluegrass is a grass, just as your blue grama is, and herbicides can't differentiate between two grasses. Since you are planning to use this as a lawn, rather than a grazing area, you might mow it two or three times a year to try to keep the annual weeds from reseeding.


Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua dactyloides
 

More Invasive Plants Questions

Should the herbicide Ornamec 170 be used on unwanted grasses?
March 15, 2012 - I have a lovely wildflower garden in a field behind my house; unfortunately, the wildflowers are being smothered by grasses. I understand that Ornamec 170 can be used to control grasses in wildflower...
view the full question and answer

Managing non-native invasive creeping yellow cress in Rio Medina TX
January 10, 2012 - Due to my lawn mower dying and waiting for the shop to fix it my yard got a bit overgrown. I was walking around the yard looking at the blooming wildflowers and have discovered that one of them is Ror...
view the full question and answer

Poverty plant overgrown in Austin
June 06, 2012 - We have a poverty plant that is too big for its space in our yard. We like it and want to keep it. Can it be transplanted easily? What about pruning it.
view the full question and answer

Absence of grass around a willow tree in Georgia
December 22, 2008 - In the past three years my Willow tree has grown from a stick to a lovely tree. Unfortunately, the grass under and around the tree is gone. Nothing left but dirt. Is there a remedy?
view the full question and answer

Will native Galium aparine be a problem in Austin garden?
March 25, 2014 - Should I be concerned that my yard is overrun with "sticky weed" (Galium aparine) in the early spring? Specifically, about five years ago I undertook converting about half my back yard into a na...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center