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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 - 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.

 

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