Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - December 13, 2008

From: Athens, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grasses for Van Zandt County, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have approx'ly 200 acres in Van Zandt County, Texas between Edom & Ben Wheeler of which approx'ly half is pasture land and has been used for hay for the past several years. We would have converted to Wildlife Exemption from Ag Exemption and have been told to disc the pasture land and plant native grasses. What native grasses are indigenous to our East Texas area? The pasture land is sunny with rolling hills. The soil is sandy on top with a clay base. Also, when should we plant?

ANSWER:

First of all, There are warm season grasses (WSG) and cool season grasses (CSG). WSG should be planted in late spring (March or April) and CSG can be planted in early spring (February or March), as well as late summer and early fall (September or October).

You certainly could plant the big four of prairie grasses, all WSG, and all of which have been recorded in or near Van Zandt County:

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), with more information

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass), with more information

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), with more information

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass), with more information

Here are some other grasses that grow in our adjacent to Van Zandt County:

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem) and more information, grows in wet areas, WSG

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass) and more information, WSG

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) and more information, WSG and the state grass of Texas

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) and more information, CSG, grows well in the shade 

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye) and more information, CSG

Eragrostis intermedia (plains lovegrass) and more information, WSG

Eragrostis spectabilis (purple lovegrass) and more information, WSG

Tridens flavus (purpletop tridens) and more information, WSG

The Native Prairies Association of Texas has an excellent page of instructions for planting prairie grasses.  The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation also has an excellent set of instructions for establishing native grasses.


Andropogon gerardii

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

Andropogon glomeratus

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Elymus virginicus

Eragrostis intermedia

Eragrostis spectabilis

Tridens flavus

 

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Possibility of root rot in Praire flame-leaf sumac
July 08, 2004 - I bought a prairie sumac two years ago and it was fine until recently when we had a lot of rain in Austin. Now the leaves are all brown and it appears to be dying. Is there something I can do? I reall...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf in Houston
January 30, 2012 - I want to install a Multi-Species Native Lawn, like HABITURF. However, I live in Houston, Texas and most of your information on this topic doesn't address my region. As I don't have a heavily shaded...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Tilling for grass under old live oak in San Antonio
April 15, 2012 - Hi, I have a 250+ year old Texas Live Oak. As usual, the lawn under the tree, after 18 years needs to be redone. MY QUESTION: to put down new sod the lawn company needs to till the soil about 4 t...
view the full question and answer

Winter groundcover for shaded backyard in Austin
January 10, 2013 - I live in south Austin and have a shaded backyard. During the summer, the lawn died and the ground is now bare. I'd like to plant some kind of winter grass or ground cover that will hold the soil i...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.