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
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

Perennial ground cover for hillside in Holmdel NJ
April 25, 2014 - I live in NJ. I would like to use a perennial ground cover for my landscaping bed on a hill with full sun and deer resistant. It's a good size landscaping bed that is facing east (southeast). What...
view the full question and answer

Dying non-native St. Augustine grass from Austin
May 02, 2013 - Although we all know St. Augustine grass is not a good thing, I am stuck with it and am trying to save areas that appear to have take-all fungus. I have done much reading online and have tried peat m...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for horses
September 20, 2009 - I have 7ac with big and little bluestem. I'm told big is bad. And my horse eats ground veg and not the bluestem. So I'd love to replant the entire tract with something for the horse, deer, and nativ...
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

Riverbank Plants for Minnesota
September 04, 2013 - I would like to stablize a steep riverbank slope along the Upper Mississippi in St. Cloud MN. The slopes are almost 1:1. We are using an open cell concrete matt in which we are going to plant native...
view the full question and answer

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