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
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

Ligustrums planted last summer are doing poorly in Houston, TX.
March 06, 2012 - I planted large mature ligustrums trees (~ 8 ft) last summer and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Can you please tell me what the cause of this might be and what we can do to prevent th...
view the full question and answer

Removing bermudagrass from buffalograss in Smithville TX
May 01, 2013 - I have a lawn created two years ago with buffalo grass sod in Smithville, TX. Recently several areas of bermudagrass have started to flourish in the buffalo grass lawn. Can you recommend a herbicide...
view the full question and answer

Skunk cabbage for Houston TX
September 19, 2009 - Can you find skunk cabbage in the Houston, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
view the full question and answer

Advisability of growing Silybum marianum (Milk thistle)
November 26, 2013 - I just received a load of clay-mix-dirt - and after our recent rains noticed the pile sprouting what looks like "Milk Thistle." Lots of them. The leaves are spiny and variegated - quite pretty. ...
view the full question and answer

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