En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - March 25, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: How can I control Rescue Grass in my newly seeded prairie restoration?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello, This past fall I solarized the existing turfgrass in my front yard and seeded with the native tallgrass prairie grasses and wildflowers. My goal is to restore a small patch of tall grass prairie to east Austin. During the past month I have noticed a recolonization by rescue grass, a non-native and undesirable cool-season grass. The rescue grass is going to seed and I am not sure how to control the grass. Should I hand pull? Should I just pull the seed heads? Should I do nothing? As a last resort, should I apply herbicide? Any assistance would help. Thank you. Oh, I have not observed any of the native seeded grasses germinate or at least develop any above-ground biomass.

ANSWER:

 Mr. Smarty Plants applauds your efforts toward restoring native tallgrass prairie in your space, and would to like to refer you to two of our "How To" articles; Meadow Gardening and Recreating a Prairie.  You may be familiar with both of these, and have followed the suggestions carefully, however this current drought can certainly change the outcomes.

Rescue grass (Bromus catharticus) was introduced into the southern United States from Argentina in the early 1800's as a forage plant and a soil binder. It has has proved to be an excellent forage grass and has become naturalized throughout the US and Texas. As you are discovering, it grows in the cooler months and produces flowers and seeds in the early spring. The subspecies that occurs here is an annual or biennial.  I would recommend removing seedheads before they mature (mowing is the easiest method) and the plants will die out.  Of course it's likely to appear again next year and the following year, especially if there is a nearby seed source.  

As the soil heals and is reclaimed by native grasses and forbs, rescuegrass and other non-natives will decline. Since you have sown grass and wildflower seed, using a herbicide is not recommended.

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Recommendations for plants under sugar maple (Acer saccharum) tree
March 12, 2011 - We have an area under sugar maple trees and near white pines. We cannot get any grass to grow. There is little moisture and no sun in the summer. We live 25 miles north of Nashville, TN. Can you r...
view the full question and answer

Ornamental bunch grasses to grow under live oak
June 25, 2007 - I love live oak trees and have one in the back yard that is growing nicely. I don't know if it's the shade or the leaf and acorn droppings that won't allow the grass to grow underneath it. Around...
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native invasives with native grasses and wildflowers from Round Rock TX
April 04, 2012 - I have a small piece of property (1.5 AC) East of Austin, Texas that get's overgrown with weedy vegetation (johnson grass, dandelion, and some tall yellow flowering plant that I see all over the medi...
view the full question and answer

Raised beds over lateral lines in Solgohachia AR
January 02, 2010 - I would like to build raised flower beds over my lateral lines. They would be planted with strawberries and perennials. Will this cause any problems with the absorption into the ground or not lettin...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses and turf grass for VA
February 08, 2012 - I recently moved to Blacksburg, Virginia. I am becoming involved with a church here that recently started a grounds committee. There is some discussion within the group of which varieties of native ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center