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

Native Plants for Galveston
February 12, 2012 - I'm looking for low maintenance, drought tolerant plants for Galveston, on the bay side, in a well drained area with morning sun. I was thinking of Phlox, Muhly grass, Lantana.....and I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Drought-resistant plants for Paradise, California
January 23, 2009 - We are moving to a new home in Paradise, CA. What drought resistant plants do well in Paradise ? Thank you !!
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for Brooklyn, NY
January 25, 2013 - Hi Mr Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a fast growing ground cover for my Brooklyn, NY back yard. The area is nestled between 3 buildings and a fairly large tree, so most of the day its shady, but ...
view the full question and answer

Sheet mulching before planting Habiturf from Grand Prairie, TX
March 03, 2014 - Have you tried sheet mulching as a bed prep and to kill bermuda grass before planting habituff?
view the full question and answer

Properties of Nolina species
November 16, 2010 - I bought two plants that were labeled "Nolina" but one has round leaves and the other has flat leaves with serrations. Are they two different species? Also, can they be divided or is there only on...
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