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
1 rating

Tuesday - June 30, 2009

From: Oklahoma City, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Procedure for planting buffalograss
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to get a full schedule of events/actions for planting a lawn with buffalo grass. The area is already a lawn, though mostly weeds. It is June/July. First, cover area to be seeded with black plastic to burn out current plants. (How long to cover? Is now the appropriate time?) Once this is done, seed with buffalo grass seed. How much water and how long to water? Finally, when to cover area with corn gluten fertilizer/herbicide? Sorry for disjointed form of my summary; essentially, I need to know the details of what to do and when to do it to replace old weedy lawn with new buffalo grass seed, and how to best ensure its germination. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

As it happens, we have an How-To Article Native Lawns: Buffalograss. Read that and you will know what our experts know about taking out an old lawn and putting in a new native one. One thing we would like to say upfront-don't cover the buffalograss lawn with anything, especially fertilizers or herbicides. One of the main reasons the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center advocates native plants so vigorously is because they are already acclimated to the climate, rainfall and soil of the area where they are being planted, and therefore need less water, less fertilizer (or no fertilizer) and less maintenance. And we don't recommend using herbicide to clear weeds for the new lawn. Since it really is too hot to be planting much in the way of native plants, or anything else for that matter, you might consider this article on Soil Solarization from  Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information.

For more information on putting in a buffalograss lawn. take a look at the Native American Seed Website. Their home page right now is addressing your questions about when and how to plant native grasses. On that page, click on "Shop for Seeds" and in that list, click on "grass mixes." When you get the page of pictures of different grass mixtures, click on Native Sun Turfgrass. This is a mix of 34% Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and 66% Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss). Regardless of where you purchase your seeds, this company has lots of information that can be of use to you. 

One last word before you commit to the grasses you are going to plant: Buffalograss really does require full sun, which we consider 6 or more hours of sun a day. If your area doesn't provide that, consider some other native grasses which can tolerate shade, and don't waste time and money putting in the sun-loving buffalograss. 


Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Cottage-style landscaping for Chesapeake VA
August 02, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plant staff, I recently moved into a cottage style home that has a poured concrete/paver patio. I am trying to come up with ideas for plantings that would 1. give me a bit of privacy,...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control for a North Carolina creek side
February 29, 2012 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I noticed a question on your website recommending NC native grasses and plants to help prevent erosion on a sloping backyard, including the use of an erosion blanket. The pl...
view the full question and answer

Identifying native sedges
October 14, 2013 - What's the best way to identify a specific sedge ?
view the full question and answer

Carex texensis for Gainesville, Florida
August 31, 2013 - I am interested in planting Carex texensis in Gainesville Florida (zone 9). The site is part shade with little water. However, I do not see it listed as being used anywhere in Florida. Is it restric...
view the full question and answer

Source for nitrates and phosphorus (P205) for lawn care
July 04, 2008 - I recently supplied soil samples from my back yard to my local extension here in Austin. I have a hybrid Bermuda turf grass (TIF 419) that has had its share of ups and downs, and wanted to assess the ...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center