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

Saturday - January 05, 2008

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Post freeze care for Texas native grasses
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you tell me the best post-freeze care for Tx native grasses in my garden: lindheimer muhly, gulf muhly, inland sea oats. Mexican feather grass. Do I cut them back? Burn them? Leave them alone? Thank you.

ANSWER:

The key word in your question is "native." When you select plants that are already adapted to an area, it cuts down on the maintenance that has to be done. Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Lindheimer's muhly), Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly), Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), and Nassella tenuissima (finestem needlegrass) are all native to this area, and will suffer little, if any, from frost. With all grasses, the main concern in trimming is keeping them tidy. It's probably best to leave any dead stems on the grasses until the chances of frost are well over, as the overhanging grasses will help to protect the green part of the plant from an excessive freeze. Then, you might cut about 1/3 of the plant back, and thoroughly rake out any dead or cut ends. Keeping the dead grasses out of the plants is important both to appearance and because the dry material can be a burn hazard. Obviously, we do not advise that you burn anything, especially now with the dry weather in Central Texas, along with high winds.

 


Muhlenbergia lindheimeri

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Chasmanthium latifolium

Nassella tenuissima

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Groundcover Under Maple Tree in Ottawa That Takes Foot Traffic
April 19, 2013 - Hi, I am looking for a groundcover to put under a large maple tree that will be alright for kids to run about on and will be happy in the Ottawa climate. Your other answers to similar questions have b...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady sand in Florida
March 31, 2013 - We live in central Florida (directly between Orlando and Tampa). Our yard is mostly sand for soil and difficult parts in shade almost all day from large trees. What ground cover (grass) and hedges can...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for creek area near Abilene, Texas
April 04, 2009 - I have constructed several low water crossings on a live creek in the Abilene,Texas area and need to find out the best grass to plant to hold secure the soil and keep down erosion. The creek does runs...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of using weeping love grass on property in Keller, Texas
April 19, 2008 - What do you know about "Weeping Love Grass"? We have heard that it does not require watering (once the roots are established, fertilizing, nor frequent mowing. So we decided to plant it on our 2-a...
view the full question and answer

When do Habiturf® grasses make seeds?
June 16, 2015 - I planted Habiturf seeds last year near Dripping Springs. It looks like the Buffalo grass has had seeds on it for a week or 2. How long does it need to remain on the live Buffalo Grass before it can b...
view the full question and answer

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