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?


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


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


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

drought-resistant turf grasses for New York City
June 16, 2011 - Hi - I work at the Smithsonian in New York City and we have a very large lawn that is frequently used in the summer for programming. It gets very beat up. I read an article in teh New York Times about...
view the full question and answer

Erosion control in Santaquin UT
August 11, 2009 - I have a hill in my backyard; it is about 40 ft tall and about 80 ft wide. It is probably a 1.5 to 1 slope ratio. I am going to be landscaping my back yard and have top soil put on the hill as well. S...
view the full question and answer

Planting turf grass in PA
October 23, 2010 - Is it too late to plant new grass in mid October in Pittsburg? Should I wait until Spring at this point?
view the full question and answer

Juncus effusus Twister question
June 07, 2009 - I live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I bought a Juncus Effusus,"Twister", and was wondering if it can be brought in the house during winter as a house plant or is it just an annual that will die in ...
view the full question and answer

Restoring riverfront from Blanco Flood
October 04, 2015 - We have cleared our riverfront from the Blanco Flood and I am now looking for help in replanting native trees/grass on our property. Our home was in the Flood of Hayes county Memorial Weekend. I am ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center