En EspaŅol

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

Monday - March 22, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Using corn gluten to suppress weeds in buffalo grass, blue grama and curly mesquite
Answered by: Julie Krosley and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I own a home in central Austin and am replacing my St. Augustine lawn with a native grass blend of Buffalo, Blue Grama, and Curly Mesquite as a pre-emptive attack for the inevitable drought conditions this summer. I understand that the native grasses do not need supplemental fertilization and that applying such fertilizer can encourage invasive species such as Bermuda, and others that my neighbors lawns seem to contain in abundance, to move in. After germination of the grass seed could I or should I apply corn gluten meal to suppress the germination of weed seeds until the grass becomes established even though it contains a significant nitrogen component or am I just complicating the matter?

ANSWER:

Corn gluten is a pre-emergent that is applied twice a year, in the late winter (late Jan.-mid-Feb.) and in the fall (mid-to-late Sept.).  It is slow acting so applying it in the late spring-early summer may catch a few of the weeds coming up during the establishment phase of the grass, but not a lot.  We would suggest hand pulling the weeds or a carefully applied spot treatment of herbicide on the more persistent ones. You can then put out the corn gluten in September.

The addition of the extra nitrogen in the corn gluten shouldn't be a concern.  The Wildflower Center does use corn gluten on its buffalograss plots (see the answer to a previous question).

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Propagation of rain, oxblood, and copper lily bulbs
November 30, 2012 - I have Rain Lily, Oxblood Lily, and Copper Lily bulbs out of the ground, that are putting out some green growth. I would like to plant them soon. Is it okay to plant now and in December, or do I hav...
view the full question and answer

Retention pond from Hendersonville NC
April 24, 2012 - We have a retention pond that has recently been cleaned and we would like to plant perennial native plant and grass seeds that will enhance the appearance and contribute to the natural process of filt...
view the full question and answer

Replacement for grass under non-native weeping willow from Yorba Linda CA
April 24, 2012 - What would be a good replacement for the grass currently growing under a weeping willow? Something requiring low maintenance, the problem is with mowing over and around the roots.
view the full question and answer

Drainage pond plantings from Mason MI
April 23, 2012 - We have a drainage pond in our back yard. It has a large muddy bank and some steep sides where erosion has started to take its toll. We are looking for some Michigan/Mid-Western native plants that w...
view the full question and answer

Turf grass for part-time home from Louisville KY
April 28, 2012 - We have a small yard at a remote location with cistern water, and need a turf grass for a yard, clay soil, which I am willing to amend. It will receive sporadic attention as my husband and I do not l...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center