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
5 ratings

Sunday - January 27, 2008

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Trimming of native Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass)
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Should Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass) be cut down in a similar fashion to other perennial grasses that go dormant in the winter.

ANSWER:

Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass) does not appear in our Native Plant Database; however, it is a native of Arizona and Northern New Mexico and thus qualifies as a native of North America, which is the focus and expertise of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It somewhat resembles bamboo, thus the common name, with the feathery fern-like tops and thick stalks. However, it does not resemble the non-native bamboo in invasiveness. It spreads slowly from underground stolons, eventually forming a clump 4-5 feet wide and tall. It will grow in full sun or part shade, is considered hardy down to 10 degrees and is deer resistant. Trimming perennial grasses is as much a matter of personal taste and energy as anything else. At the Wildflower Center, grasses are generally trimmed a third to a half in late winter (like about now). Then, they are tidied up, with dead and trimmed blades of the grasses raked out and disposed of. This is partly a question of appearance, partly to let plenty of sun get to the vigorous new growth in the grass, and partly as a protection against fire danger. Dried grasses can be a very fast spreader of fires, not good anywhere or in any season.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
March 07, 2013 - I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not ph...
view the full question and answer

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

Plantings for sides of retention pond in Willits CA
July 02, 2012 - I am looking for recommendations for ground cover for the outside of embankments which impound wastewater. This is to improve the aesthetics and deter weeds. The slopes are 1V:2H, so if we can avoid...
view the full question and answer

Native Plants for Shaded North Slope in Ohio
January 03, 2013 - I have a shaded north hillside which needs erosion control plants. Mostly moss and very thin grass grows there now. Please help!
view the full question and answer

Grass lawn from Durham NC
October 08, 2013 - Durham, NC. Want to plant a small front grass lawn, full sun, dry. Willing to mow. Not good about watering. Advice?
view the full question and answer

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