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

Tuesday - October 30, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Weed and feed for buffalograss
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What is a good winterizer or weed & feed for buffalo grass? I live in Southwest Austin.


Well, see, one of the best things about planting Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is that you DON'T have to put on weed and feed materials or do special "winterizing". It is native here, is adapted to our weather, can get what it needs from our soils, and has medium water needs. Since many of the "weeds" you don't want in your buffalograss happen to also be grasses, anything you buy that will "weed" the area will kill the buffalograss just as blithely as it will the weedy grasses. There is no way to explain to an herbicide that one grass is good and the other ones are all bad.

This Texas Cooperative Extension website has excellent information on the planting, cultivation and maintenance of buffalograss. We would call your special attention to these lines in the "Maintenance" section: "Buffalograss does not need fertilization but will respond to light applications of nitrogen. If bermudagrass is undesirable in the lawn, avoid nitrogen fertilization." Further, in commenting on the amount of moisture required, it is noted that medium irrigation during the spring and summer will keep buffalograss green, but "As with fertilization, excessive water promotes bermudagrass." We think you'll agree that the last thing you want in your buffalograss is bermudagrass, a grass imported as a lawn and grazing grass, which has become intensively invasive in flower beds and lawns everywhere.

In summary, you have made an excellent choice, for this part of the state, in planting buffalograss for your lawn. You neither need nor do we encourage you to use any other "additives", herbicides or pesticides. The buffalograss does not require them and you don't want them in the runoff from your property into the water supply.


Bouteloua dactyloides



More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Groundcovers & Shrubs for Shade in North Carolina
April 30, 2013 - Mr Smarty Pants, My neighbor planted cypress trees as a border between his yard and ours and it is sucking up every drop of water and nutrient. We also have a purple plum in the area which creates ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for South Texas Coast
April 02, 2010 - Grasses S. Texas Coast. Hello! I love all of the information available in your database Mr. Smarty Plants database (as well as the rest of the site) and find it quite useful on many fronts. My...
view the full question and answer

Plants for slope on Orcas Island, WA
July 21, 2011 - Hi! What a great site! Okay, I have a home on Orcas Island, WA. We live here from about June through September, but only visit once a month or so the other times of the year. We are looking for somet...
view the full question and answer

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

Why are there no low-mow lawn grasses composed of only native fescues?
September 09, 2014 - Dear SP, Most blends of ecograss I see are a combination of non-native and native fescues (and sometimes buffalo grass, blue grama, etc.). Why are there (apparently) none that are composed entirely of...
view the full question and answer

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