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?


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
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


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.


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

Weed and feed for buffalograss
October 30, 2007 - What is a good winterizer or weed & feed for buffalo grass? I live in Southwest Austin.
view the full question and answer

Grass for family cemetery in Gallatin TX
August 20, 2009 - Recently, we made a family cemetery, and are now trying to find a type of grass that will make a healthy lawn for it. What would be an appropriate species to plant here?
view the full question and answer

Planting wildflowers and ryegrass in RIverside AL
February 07, 2015 - Love the name, enjoyed a visit last spring. We repaired a retaining wall about 300 ft. and want to plant wildflowers on a strip 5 ft wide. Slope gentle to 1 in 3.5. Hauled in topsoil for fill. Can ...
view the full question and answer

Use of hand-held seed spreader from Robstown TX
March 20, 2014 - I am planting native turf grass and prairie grasses as part of a backyard restoration on my 1.6 acre home site. My problem is good seed dispersal for the chaffey grass seeds. Have you have any luck...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Texas sage from Bastrop, TX
March 01, 2013 - Am I wasting my time trying to transplant texas sage runners? Any advice?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center