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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.

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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.

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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

 

 

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