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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - September 12, 2008

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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