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

Friday - August 31, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Shorter drought-tolerant grasses
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We live on 1 1/2 acres near Dripping Springs. We have a variety of grasses, mostly tall, on the back and side of the property. Is there some type of drought tolerant shorter grass or wildflowers or groundcover that we could plant to compete with these taller grasses? Mowing and weedeating this area is very difficult because there is a tall slope going down to the road. Thank you for your advice.

ANSWER:

You don't say what your taller grasses are, but here are a few that are relatively short and that Mr. Smarty Plants thinks are very attractive: Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama), Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and Bouteloua rigidiseta (Texas grama). However, chances are your taller grasses are the natives, Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) and Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem) which are enjoying prolific growth this year due to the abundance of rain, or the non-native invasive, K.R. bluestem. In most years - with closer to normal rainfall - your grasses will not grow as tall as they have this year.
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Carex texensis for Gainesville, Florida
August 31, 2013 - I am interested in planting Carex texensis in Gainesville Florida (zone 9). The site is part shade with little water. However, I do not see it listed as being used anywhere in Florida. Is it restric...
view the full question and answer

Low-maintenance grass for retention pond
December 21, 2012 - I would like to know what would be a low-growing grass to put down for a water retention pond. We have clay and rocky soil. The incline of the sides of the retention pond are about 20 feet with gra...
view the full question and answer

Dead, brown Habiturf lawn
July 07, 2015 - I planted Habiturf seeds last fall and had a good lawn all winter. Now the grass is brown and dead. Did it drown with all the rain we have had? If so, what should I do now? If not, what should I do...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native St. Augustine lawn from Austin
October 06, 2013 - We have St. Augustine in our front lawn. There are some patches where the grass has entirely died but mixed in with the dead areas are little clumps of living grass. It seems to be spreading througho...
view the full question and answer

Special requirements for Density buffalograss in Austin
April 23, 2009 - Are there any special requirements for Density Buffalo beyond the requirements of other, more common, types of buffalo grass? Background: We live in NW Austin, and we recently installed density bu...
view the full question and answer

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