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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.

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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.

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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!

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Tuesday - July 08, 2008

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Buffalograss for Houston
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Will 609 buffalograss sod perform well in Houston, Texas? I am being told that it will yellow and get filled with weeds and that it won't handle the humidity. Is this all true? Help, please.

ANSWER:

Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) should do just fine in Houston. In fact, the West Harris County Regional Water Authority cites buffalograss for its low water requirements compared to Bermuda and St. Augustine grasses. Buffalograss does do best in full sun (6 or more hours/day) and you will have to be diligent about pulling up and/or digging out weeds until your lawn is well established, but then it should be relatively care-free—you shouldn't have to mow it but once or twice a year and it will require little water. Buffalograss isn't ever as green as, say, St. Augustine and it will go dormant in very cold weather and turn brown. In Houston, that should be for only a short period of time, if at all. If your lawn has shaded areas, you would be better off planting something else for those area like a groundcover or sedges (see suggestions for groundcovers and sedges below). Please read our How to Article "Native Lawns: Buffalograss" and you might also like to read "Sedge Lawns for Every Landscape" by John Greenlee.

We receive many questions about buffalograss and rather than repeat all the answers we've given, I refer you to the Ask Mr. Smarty Plants page where you can pull up these answers by typing 'buffalograss' into the Keyword Search slot.

Sedges:

Carex blanda (eastern woodland sedge)

Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Groundcovers:

Phyla nodiflora (turkey tangle fogfruit)

Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy)

Geum canadense (white avens)


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Carex blanda

Carex cherokeensis

Carex texensis

Phyla nodiflora

Calyptocarpus vialis

Geum canadense

 


 

 

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Bibliography

Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Texas (2003) Turner, B. L.; H. Nichols; G. Denny; O. Doron

Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski

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