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Mr. Smarty Plants - Grass for septic drainfield in Georgetown TX

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Tuesday - February 10, 2009

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Septic Systems
Title: Grass for septic drainfield in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We recently had a new septic drainfield installed. It is raised approximately 2-3 ft above ground level. I would like to plant it with a native grass/grasses that would attract wildlife yet still be attractive to look at since it is in our back yard. Would buffalo grass grow here or would it be too wet? I found a native mix for drainfields, but it grows to 5 feet and I really don't want anything that tall. It is currently planted with Cereal Rye, but soon will need something more permanent planted. Any suggestions? I really don't want to put St Augustine grass like our county recommends. Thank you!

ANSWER:

Thank you for not putting in St. Augustine, a non-native grass that is water and fertilizer greedy. On our Plant Database, Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is listed as having a "medium" water use, but drought tolerant. We know that it turns brown and becomes dormant when it is too dry. It does need well drained soil, but if your drainfields are raised, that should take care of that problem. We think that not only will the buffalograss survive the extra moisture, but it will thrive on it.  It ordinarily only grows about 5" tall, and can be mowed once or twice a year for appearance, if you so desire. Your only problem will be that, while the buffalograss is becoming established, you will have to be vigilant about weeds. And please don't use herbicides; pulling out weeds, especially before they go to seed, is the best procedure. Once established, buffalograss can hold its own and should be an excellent choice for your yard. You will get more information on planting and caring for buffalograss from our How-To Article Native Lawns: Buffalograss.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

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