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
1 rating

Wednesday - June 11, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Problem with weeds in the buffalograss
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm about to throw in the towel! My back 'lawn' of buffalo grass (609) is almost all 'weeds'! Native ruellia and lyre leaf sage have taken over and as the area has gotten shadier, the grass is struggling. It's very sparse and almost non-existent. I was told that blue grama could be over seeded and would fill in nicely. I'm also considering bermuda. I've seen some very nice lawns of a cultivar of bermuda. What do you suggest? Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants pleads with you NOT to consider bermuda grass. It is not native, is very invasive and difficult to eliminate or control.

Now, Mr. SP has some probably unwelcome news—I think you need to consider starting over with your back 'buffalograss lawn'. Since Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) does best in full sun, perhaps you should consider it for the sunny parts of the yard and alternative grasses or groundcover for the shady parts (e.g., Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge), Carex planostachys (cedar sedge), Carex texensis (Texas sedge), Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy), Dichondra carolinensis (Carolina ponysfoot)). Please see a previous discussion of buffalograss in a mixed yard area.

Rather than use exclusively buffalograss for the sunny areas, you should consider using a buffalograss mix. See the answer to a previous question for a discussion of buffalograss mixes. Here is a quote from that discussion:

"The benefits of using a buffalograss mix compared to pure buffalograss are faster establishment, greater ability to adjust to weather changes and stressors in your yard, and less niche space for weeds—at least that is the theory at this point."

Native American Seed in Junction, Texas has Native Sun Turfgrass, a mixture of 66% buffalograss and 34% Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama).

Now, how do you go about re-doing the entire yard? From spring till late summer is a good time to sow these grass seeds, but you are going to need to prepare the area (i.e., remove the weeds from the old lawn) first. Native American Seeds suggests tilling or solarization as possible means to do so and they also have other tips for preparing the area and sowing the seeds. Perhaps you have some teenagers in your neighborhood who are looking for a challenging summer job who could prepare the area for you?

You could also consider going to a complete sedge lawn. You can read about this alternative to a grass lawn in John Greenlee's Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape.

And, here's some more probably unpleasant advice on how to keep your lawn weed-free—pull them or dig them up when they appear!


Bouteloua dactyloides

Carex blanda

Carex planostachys

Carex texensis

Calyptocarpus vialis

Dichondra carolinensis

Bouteloua gracilis

 

 

 

More Problem Plants Questions

Controlling Cocculus carolinus vines
August 04, 2015 - I live in Oklahoma City and want to rid my yard and flowerbeds of Cocculus Carolinus vines, I already have a infestation, I cant count the number of vines that were already established before I found ...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating ragweed in Sacramento CA
May 16, 2012 - Rag weed. How to be rid of it! My wife and lots of others that live in this part of Sacramento suffer greatly.
view the full question and answer

Aggressive native Inland Sea Oats in Whitehouse Station NJ
April 29, 2010 - Can you direct me to a source of help managing a very aggressive grass, Chasmanthium latifolia, Woodland Oats or Indian Sea Oats. It is behaving like a very noxious plant and I am concerned as I am h...
view the full question and answer

Controlling live oak suckers in Florida
July 20, 2014 - How do I kill emerging live oak sprouts coming from mature tree root system
view the full question and answer

Acre-scale Grass Removal near Austin, TX
July 04, 2014 - How do I get rid of 10 acres of Kleingrass?
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