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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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Sunday - March 01, 2009

From: Gilmer, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for Gilmer TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to get some native grasses growing on our farm that are good for wildlife - barnyard grass - sedges - smartweed - have read and heard that all I need to do is disc and fertilize - yes/no - need advice.

ANSWER:

It sounds like what you are considering is restoration of the natural prairie. Happily, we have an excellent How-To article, Recreating a Prairie, that explains that process and was written by experts who know much more about it than we do. This article answers questions about planting times, soil preparation, and has a list of suggested grasses, all of which would be appropriate for East Texas, with pictures.

We would also suggest you visit the online site of Native American Seeds in Junction, Texas, especially their section on grass mixes. Take a look at the Prairie Starter Mix and the Blackland Prairie Mix. Of course, you don't have to go to that specific vendor, but we can tell you that they have a terrific store of information and advice to offer you on seeds and seeding. And you can make your own selection of plants to grow, buying the individual seeds for each plant, but we think for your purpose a mix made specifically for your purpose would be more efficient. They can tell you how much to buy for an area, when to plant, and so forth. 

However you choose to go, we applaud your idea, and we're sure the birds, butterflies and small mammals in your area will do the same.

 

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