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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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Monday - February 04, 2008

From: Keller, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Possible invasiveness of non-native Eragrostis curvula
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have just moved to Keller, TX and am trying to establish a xeriscape plan for our property. I chose to plant weeping love grass as I learned it was a native plant and did not require fertilizing, a lot of water, nor mowing frequently. Now I have read on the web site that it is considered to be an invasive plant. We have a total of 2 acres of land and about 1/2 of it has been planted with the love grass in a meadow like plan. Do you think this grass will present major problems in the future?

ANSWER:

As it turns out, Eragrastus curvula is NOT a native plant, but was imported from South Africa in the late 1920's. Another common name is "Boer love grass." The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is centered on the use and propagation of plants native to North America, and especially concerned about invasive plants, non-native or native. On our Plantwise: Native Alternatives for Invasive Plants list, you will find several native, non-invasive replacements for this grass. However, replacing it may not be altogether practical at this point.

Eragrastus curvula is considered a warm season grass. Keller is approximately on the border between USDA Zones 7b and 8a, meaning that there will seldom be a very long period of sub-freezing temperatures. In cooler climates, weeping lovegrass is considered an annual. In your area, it is probably a tender perennial. If you are concerned about the invasiveness of the plant, consider not replacing any plants that are damaged or killed by cold weather, and replacing them with some of the native alternative grasses found in the weblink above.

 

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