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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - October 27, 2009

From: Cedar Creek, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: New low maintenance grass similar to Turffalo
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

While touring the Wildlife Center, our group was told about about a new low maintenance grass similar to Turffalo. It only grows several inches tall, drought resistant and crowds out other grasses and weeds. The highway department has started using it along the roadways. The guide thought the name might be Midway mix. I cannot find any information about this grass. Please tell me its name and where it can be purchased?

ANSWER:

Turffalo is a Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) hybrid developed by Texas Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Sciences and Frontier Hybrids.  The Wildflower Center does have experimental plots of it growing.  You can read the assessments of the turffalo plots by Julie Krosley, our senior horticulturist.  You can also read about the research on native turf grasses being conducted by Dr. Mark Simmons, ecologist at the Wildflower Center.  I asked both Mark and Julie about an improved turf grass option and neither of them knew about one. Mark did know that there is a Midway Mix available from Native American Seed that contains seeds for thirteen different native grasses including buffalograss.  Many of the grasses in that Midway Mix would not be considered turf grasses, however.  You might contact the Texas Department of Transportation about their Wildflower Program to see what native grasses they are using to seed roadsides along with the wildflowers.

 

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