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Mr. Smarty Plants - Controlling weeds in Buffalograss in Pflugerville, TX

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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

 

 

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