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

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

Propagation of rain, oxblood, and copper lily bulbs
November 30, 2012 - I have Rain Lily, Oxblood Lily, and Copper Lily bulbs out of the ground, that are putting out some green growth. I would like to plant them soon. Is it okay to plant now and in December, or do I hav...
view the full question and answer

Native grass for Splendora, Texas.
January 25, 2008 - We have a newly built house on a two acre lot in Splendora (zip code 77372). We would like to seed (the best choice) for grass. What about centipede or buffalo grass? The soil is a sand with clay 4...
view the full question and answer

Plants to stabilize a bank in VT
April 10, 2012 - I am looking for suggestion on what plants might best be suited for aiding in the stabilization of a very steep bank above Lake Champlain.
view the full question and answer

Plants for yard in Sweetwater, Texas
March 19, 2010 - What plants or grass would you suggest for an area that that is located on the east side of our house - full sun morning through noon, then it's shaded the remainder of the day.. Thanks!!
view the full question and answer

TIF 419 Bermudagrass vs. Zoysia
September 03, 2008 - I'm currently faced with the decision to sod my yard with TIF 419 or Zoysia. Zoysia is double the price so my knee jerk reaction is to go with Bermuda. Proponents of Zoysia claim it requires less m...
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