En Español

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

Monday - February 11, 2008

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Trimming of native muhly grasses
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do pine muhly, gulf muhly, and bull muhly need an "annual haircut"? I started wondering after reading that Lindheimer's muhly does not have to be cut back each year. I cut back all my non-muhly natives (brushy bluestem, switchgrass, etc.).

ANSWER:

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly) or Gulf muhly, Muhlenbergia dubia (pine muhly) and Muhlenbergia emersleyi (bullgrass) or Bull muhly all can be attractive year-round with their graceful blades waving in the wind. The subject of trimming has more to do with personal preference than necessity. Any tall grass benefits from having a nice cleanup, raking out the dead stalks (with a lawn broom) and cleaning up around the grasses. They can then be mowed, trimmed about 1/3 of their height, or whacked off, but not necessarily every year. Although they come back strongly in the Spring from a heavy pruning, they can look really pretty awful in the meantime. A mild trimup one year and a little more thorough one the next year is good. And, if you have a large number of grasses, you might alternate, maybe giving a heavier trim to one, and only a slight trim to the next, leaving some always taller and more graceful in the group and then reverse the treatment the next year. But the cleanup needs to be done every year, late in the Winter, for appearance, to prevent providing havens for pests and disease, and as a fire deterrent.


Muhlenbergia capillaris

Muhlenbergia dubia

Muhlenbergia emersleyi
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

New gardener on lawn for Poolville TX
April 28, 2012 - I have never had the opportunity to have a nice yard until recently when I got married. My husband loves a nice yard and we have worked very hard and put in hours of work. We are learning by trial a...
view the full question and answer

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Can two species of Muhlenbergia be cross-pollinated from Portal AZ
July 17, 2012 - Will Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Big Muhly) cross-pollinate with Muhlenbergia porteri (Bush Muhly)? I am attempting to restore the grasslands on my private property to a pre-1900 state. Bush Muhly was a...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses and turf grass for VA
February 08, 2012 - I recently moved to Blacksburg, Virginia. I am becoming involved with a church here that recently started a grounds committee. There is some discussion within the group of which varieties of native ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center