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
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

Wednesday - October 28, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Replacing bermudagrass with buffalograss in San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We inherited a back yard full of weeds when we bought a fixer-upper a couple of years back in San Antonio, TX. Since we moved in, some "native" bermuda started growing in the yard. I think the "native" burmuda came from seeds blowing over to our yard from our neighbor's yard. Last year my husband decided to buy some tiff bermuda to see how that would work out. We have a very sunny back yard. There is only a little shade from a small Red Oak we planted. Unfortunately we put in sod right before the drought and it is not looking too healthy right now. I think it will come back but I was wondering if I could seed a native grass like "buffalo" (I was thinking about the 4" variety, to limit the need for mowing) in the same lawn. If I did this would the buffalo win out or am I stuck with bermuda? I personally have never liked the invasive nature of bermuda. But since bermuda is what was starting to grow in the lawn my husband thought that tiff would be a good choice. We have a vegetable garden and are planning for paths & flower, rock and mulch beds in the yard. I do not wish to spend the rest of my life pulling bermuda out of all my beds. Please help???

ANSWER:

Let us refer you to our How-To Article Native Lawns: Buffalograss which will give you a lot of information on planting and using  Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), as well as soil preparation and removal of previous lawn grasses. Bermudagrass, besides being non-native, is extremely invasive and very difficult to get rid of. Since buffalograss seed planted now would not germinate until the warmer weather of Spring anyway, we would suggest you spent the cooler Fall and Winter weather to prepare your site. A couple of things we want to emphasize about buffalograss: It does not compete well when it is first coming up, and you will need to be vigilant about  weeding. While it needs watering when it is newly planted, once it is established it hardly needs to be watered at all. It might turn brown during a long dry period, but it will come back with cooler, wetter weather. If you water it too much, you will encourage the weeds, including the bermudagrass, that DO need watering. Another thing you need to be aware of is that buffalograss must have full sun, which we consider to be six or more hours a day of sun. 

We do sympathize with your desire to not pull bermudagrass out of your beds for the rest of your life, but you will have to stay after it. It has become an invasive weed, especially in the South, and is propagated both by seeds and by underground rhizomes as well as aboveground stolons. Please stay after it, you will be glad you did.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for lady lupine in Rosemary Beach, FL
April 21, 2009 - Where can I buy the lady lupine? I live in Rosemary Beach, Fl.
view the full question and answer

Source for Abutilon fruticosum (Indian mallow) seeds
September 24, 2011 - Do you know anyone who has Abutilon Fruticosum (Indian Mallow) seeds for sale? I would love to grow the Indian Mallow, but can't locate a source. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Locating Rudbeckia cultivar in San Antonio
April 16, 2010 - Hello, I’m searching for one-gallon plants of Rudbeckia fulgida var. speciosa “Viette’s Little Suzy” to purchase either from a San Antonio or area nursery or through a mail order Texas Grower. Is th...
view the full question and answer

Where to buy native grass seeds for Blanco County Texas
April 07, 2010 - Can you recommend what kind and where to buy native grass seeds to sow on land in Blanco County which has just been cleared of cedar and burned?
view the full question and answer

Purchase sources of Buffalograss from Corpus Christi TX
March 17, 2012 - I've heard a lot of good things about Buffalograss, but no one in my area seems to carry it. One grower actually told me it didn't grow well here and recommended St. Augustine Floratam instead. Is ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center