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
4 ratings

Wednesday - August 15, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Care of buffalo grass after wet season
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm asking for your advice on what to do with my buffalo grass lawn. With all this rain, I've managed to pull the weeds as they pop up in my front yard, and it looks good, except for a couple of places where there's too much shade and it's sparse. However... my back yard is an entirely different matter. It has 609 buffalo, which, at first, looked better than the front. It's prairie buffalo. The back has almost been taken over by lyre-leaf sage and dollar weed. I've almost given up on it. I've thought about overseeding it and it's probably a good time, given all the rain we're having. I know that fall and spring are the traditional times for planting seed, but I like to apply corn gluten at those times. I'm not concerned with the seed washing away in that area. What do you think of overseeding it with blue grama, or do you have something better in mind?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants thinks some of the problems with the invaders into your buffalo grass will begin to abate now that the rains have stopped. The buffalo grass is going to do well with less rain, but dollarweed and lyreleaf sage are not going to be as happy. The dollarweed, or pennywort, (most likely Hydrocotyle umbellata (manyflower marshpennywort)) especially likes wet conditons. Salvia lyrata (lyreleaf sage) also likes it a bit wetter than our normal spring and summer weather. Mr. SP hates to tell you this, but the best way to get rid of these invaders is remove them by hand. After doing this, your best bet is to wait a month or two with normal rainfall before deciding to completely redo your lawn. With less rainfall, the dollar weed and lyreleaf sage, should be much easier to control. Let's face it, this has been a very unusual year for rainfall.

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is still the best grass for sunny areas. It uses little water and requires only infrequent mowing. However, if you do decide to change your lawn, Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama), is a good choice for a short grass. Some other possibilites are Bouteloua rigidiseta (Texas grama) and Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama). Sedges, such as Carex texensis (Texas sedge) and Carex planostachys (cedar sedge), are another possibility. Although planting seeds in the spring is the most desirable time to plant, they can be planted in late summer. Just planting seeds over the existing lawn is probably not going to work very well, however, since the seeds need to make contact with the soil. You can learn more from the excellent article, "Planting Tips for Native Grasses" from Native American Seed and our from our How to Article, "Native Lawns".


Bouteloua dactyloides

Carex texensis

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a dry hillside in central Texas
March 07, 2010 - We need to plant some plants or grasses on a 3/4 acre sloaping hillside which does not get watered. Any recommendations for native grasses or plants which don't need care and will keep the lot from e...
view the full question and answer

Hardy, inexpensive perennials for Mansfield, TX
March 12, 2008 - I am trying to fill two flowerbeds that are in full sun mostly and right next to the house. I want something that can live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and is pretty hardy. I also don't want to spe...
view the full question and answer

Drought affecting non-native Zoysia grass in Austin
November 06, 2011 - Due to the extreme drought here in Austin this year and the watering restrictions our Zoysia lawn has suffered and appears to be dead in many areas of our lawn. Will it come back? Is there anything w...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Bonsall, CA
October 17, 2012 - I live in Bonsall, CA. (San Diego) I have 3 acres, flat and sloped that are graded dirt. (DG and sheep poop from previous owner). It is getting close to mud season and I'd like to plant winter cover...
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