En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - June 07, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Cause of yellowing buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
Answered by: Nan Hampton


We are getting large yellow areas in our buffalo grass lawn and think this is probably due to grub worms. Are grub worms the likely culprit and if so, what is the best way to get rid of them? We don't want to use chemicals but also don't want to lose the buffalo grass. Thanks!


The City of Austin has an excellent "Earth-wise Guide to Lawn Problems" that presents several common lawn problems with descriptions, photographs, tests for causes, and solutions. You can test your buffalo grass lawn to determine if it is being affected by grubs. The recommended treatment (non-chemical) is the application of beneficial nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae) that will attack and kill the grubs.

There is another possibility for yellowing buffalograss, according to an article (Buffalograss Lawns, by A. J. Koski from Colorado State University):

"Buffalograss is sometimes prone to iron chlorosis (yellowing) on high pH soils; supplemental applications of iron chelate (Fe EDDHA, sequestrene iron) will help to cure or prevent this problem."

The "Earth-wise Guide to Lawn Problems" lists this as a problem affecting St. Augustine and suggests preventive treatment (e.g., top dressing with 1/4-1/3" compost, not using fertilizers high in phosphorus, and aerating the lawn once a year). The Guide also suggests iron supplements for temporary relief.


More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Possible reasons for yellowing leaves in seedlings in Ohio
June 19, 2006 - I have a problem with my seedlings. They start yellowing of one leaf then die. When I remove the leaf another one starts. I have photos. I have two differant seedling plants and they are experiencing...
view the full question and answer

Keeping cows from eating the garden
September 02, 2008 - I have a flowerbed area outside of our new split-rail fence available for planting, but cattle roam outside the fence also! Do you have any suggestions for plants that cows tend not to eat (unle...
view the full question and answer

Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
August 04, 2012 - Have lots of muhly grass planted 3 yrs ago. This yr about 1/3 are VERY slow. Still look like hay stacks. No pattern in the bed. You mentioned pesticides being too close?
view the full question and answer

Damage to native elm in Texas
August 20, 2008 - We had a major landscape renovation done over the winter. One of the trees, an elm about 10 yrs old, remained in the bed although plants around it were removed. The tree has suddenly started turning...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native globe willow in Las Cruces, NM
June 26, 2010 - I live in Las Cruces, NM. I have a good size globe willow tree. The leaves are turning yellow and brown dryness at tips and leaves are falling off. Does it just need water?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center