En Español

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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 26, 2009

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Controlling weeds in Buffalograss in Pflugerville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, After a visit to the wildflower center a few years ago, my husband and I decided to do buffalo grass from sod in our new house. We love the way it looks, but I've been neglecting it and the weeds have overrun parts of it. I've pulled them out or in areas raked them out, but now I have ugly bare spots. Is there anything I can do to: 1. get the buffalo grass to grow back in the bare spots 2. control weeds, I'm having to pull them non-stop, is there anything I can use that would kill weeds but not the buffalo grass?

ANSWER:

If you have not already done so, please read our How-To Article Native Lawns: Buffalograss. It should answer several of your questions about filling in the grass and keeping weeds out. You are correct, as you will see in the article, in saying that the weeds seem to grow faster than the Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss). Not only do you need to keep the weeds out by hand-pulling, but you need to learn which is buffalograss and which is weed.  In particular, when reading the How-ToArticle, take note of the final section: "After You Plant."

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center recommends neither for nor against herbicides; however, in this case many of the "weeds" will be, like buffalograss, monocots or grasses. Some of those grasses will also be native, and therefore very vigorous. There are wide-spectrum herbicides that kill everything, including plants you probably didn't want harmed. There are herbicides for dicots, or broad-leaved plants, that should not harm the grasses, but, again, with a little breeze you can easily damage a tree or shrub or herbaceous blooming plants, all of which are broad-leaved, too. 

Also, as you read the article, you may realize that perhaps you have been over-watering the buffalograss; once it is established, it can get along without irrigation. The weeds, on the other hand, will grow even more happily and lush with additional watering. You will have to water the new patches until they are established, whether you seed or re-sod those bare spaces.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Buffalograss for Houston
July 08, 2008 - Will 609 buffalograss sod perform well in Houston, Texas? I am being told that it will yellow and get filled with weeds and that it won't handle the humidity. Is this all true? Help, please.
view the full question and answer

Dividing Gulf muhly in Leander TX
October 16, 2010 - I purchased a 1-gallon pot of Gulf Muhly (muhlenbergia capillaris) and am wondering if I can divide the clump in order to make my purchase go further. And, regarding that method of propagation, could...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating crabgrass in Middletown MO
September 28, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am having trouble with my lawn, specifically with the crabgrass in it. It now covers over 1/3 of it. I started using corn gluten meal this year, with limited tangible succ...
view the full question and answer

Developing fields with native plants from New Egypt NJ
July 24, 2013 - I have several acres of fields that I want to develop with native grasses and flowers. I would like to know the best time to mow the fields so that bushes and volunteer trees don't take over and that...
view the full question and answer

Pollinator friendly lawn for Longmont CO
July 06, 2015 - I have a sunny, treeless, South-facing yard, with a slight South-facing slope in Boulder County, CO. It has one patch of buffalo grass, but is more then half some other type of grass. I would like t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center