Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Tuesday - November 03, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Holding bare soil before sowing native grasses in spring.
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I want to try your buffalo/bluegrama/curly mesquite. Right now my yard is ploughed. What should I do until spring? I assume I should add living compost to the top 3", plant bluegrass for now, and then sow, rake, and press in your buffalo/bluegrama/curly mesquite combo next March 21st, right? John

ANSWER:

We rarely recommend non-natives, but in order to hold your soil and  somewhat inhibit the growth of winter weeds you might sow winter rye now.  It will die out in next summer's heat.

The mix of species we recommend for Central Texas lawns is not yet widely available.  It is difficult to harvest seed from Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite) and thus is quite expensive and available in limited quantities.  Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) are more readily available.   As you suggest in your question, seeds of these species should be sown in sping.

Adding compost before sowing your grass seed is an excellent idea.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Replacing St. Augustine grass from Dallas TX
April 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Pants, we are replacing dying St. Augustine grass in a small, sunny back yard with ground cover. What are your recommendations for a drought-tolerant evergreen ground cover? We will till a...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping suggestions for small yard in Alexandria, VA
April 20, 2008 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, My husband and I are preparing to till up most of our back yard and redo it. I'd like to use native plants, but am open to cultivars of them (as in, a column-shaped Ilex glabra...
view the full question and answer

Flowering native perennials for St. Louis
August 09, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm trying to landscape a yard that sits on rocky clay soil in St. Louis, MO. The front yard has been difficult because of its brutal southern exposure - the afternoon sun ...
view the full question and answer

Small plants for space between stones on a path
November 03, 2007 - We've just installed a stone path (unmortared) near our house and are looking for plants/seeds that would do well in the gaps between the flagstones. Naturally they need to be very low growing and h...
view the full question and answer

Looking for native plants for a rain garden in Arlington, TX.
March 12, 2012 - I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.