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?


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
2 ratings

Friday - September 12, 2008

From: Cedar Park, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Will Bermuda grass crowd out natives
Answered by: Nan Hampton


i have a new office bldg on an acre lot in cedar park. the city requires complete ground cover within a few months so bermuda was sprayed much to my dismay..the area along the front towards the road was not sprayed and has retained some of the native grasses but is adjacent to the bermuda. can i encourage the natives in this area with no mowing, and seeding wildflowers and native grasses or will the bermuda gradually take over no matter what i do?


Well, I'm not overly optimistic about keeping the bermuda grass completely out of the non-sprayed area, but I certainly think it's worth a try.  Bermuda grass is very agressive, moving into new areas by rhizomes (underground stems) and stolons (aboveground stems) as well as by seeds spread by wind and birds.  However, if you seed the area now, you might get to enjoy some native grasses and wildflowers for a bit and they may be able to hold off the bermuda grass if they become well-established before the bermuda grass makes it there.  Here are suggestions for native grasses that do not need mowing:  Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama).  Blue grama can be as tall as 12 inches when it blooms, but the foliage of it and the buffalograss reaches a maximum of only about 8 inches.  Native American Seed in Junction has a Native Sun Turfgrass mix that is a combination of the two.  They also have several wildflower mixes available.  The Native Texas Mix has a good combination of attractive hardy wildflowers (Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed Susan), Dracopis amplexicaulis (clasping coneflower), Gaillardia pulchella (firewheel), Monarda citriodora (lemon beebalm), Lupinus texensis (Texas bluebonnet) and more).  They also sell packages of single wildflower species.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Rudbeckia hirta

Dracopis amplexicaulis

Gaillardia pulchella

Monarda citriodora

Lupinus texensis



More Wildflowers Questions

Optimal time to separate and transplant black-eyed Susan
May 26, 2007 - When is the optimal time to separate or transplant black eyed Susan. I have some in a planter on my patio, but it has multiplied and become too crowded for the pot; it needs water daily.
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeding for hurricane-damaged areas of New Orleans
January 05, 2007 - I need some information. I am going to be traveling to New Orleans in two weeks to visit a relative. They are in an area that was decimated by the hurricane. Though they have rebuilt the neighborho...
view the full question and answer

Digging up and transplanting wild plants in Alloway NJ
July 01, 2010 - I saw some wild growing black eyed susans in a passing field so I dug some up this weekend and planted them in my garden now they look like they are dying. Do you think they will come back next year ?...
view the full question and answer

Advisability of sowing wildflower seeds in mid-January in Lousiana
January 07, 2006 - Newton County borders Louisiana in SE Texas. Can we plant wildflowers now-mid January? The park has recently been graded and many trees blown down by Rita which will make it more sunny. The Garden ...
view the full question and answer

Native wildflowers for caliche soil
March 06, 2007 - What kind of wildflower seeds can I plant on caliche soil. No water, other than rain, with some deer grazing.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center