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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.

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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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Saturday - February 27, 2010

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: When and how to mow native grass in Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

We live on a ranch near Kerrville. The grass is sparse KR, purple three-awn and some Texas wintergrass. How and when is the best way and time to mow this native grass?

ANSWER:

Nassella leucotricha (Texas wintergrass) and Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn) are native grasses, but Bothriochloa ischaemum (King Ranch or KR Bluestem) is not a native and is considered to be seriously invasive

Mowing anytime time of year will encourage grass growth. If you want to encourage the wintergrass, then mow in summer.  To encourage the threeawn, mow in winter. Unfortunately, mowing either time will probably favor the KR over the other two grasses. If your KR is sparse, this might be a good time to consider some control measures—either mechanical or herbicide application.  You can read a discussion of control measures for KR bluestem in the answer to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question.

 

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