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

Friday - April 02, 2010

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for South Texas Coast
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Grasses S. Texas Coast. Hello! I love all of the information available in your database Mr. Smarty Plants database (as well as the rest of the site) and find it quite useful on many fronts. My question has been addressed before but I didn't like the answer and I wanted to see what the next best options are.. I'm on a construction site that calls for the ground to be reseeded with bermuda and rye grasses, but from what I can tell neither of those are native/adapted for the Texas coast. Can I use one of the seed mixes from Native American Seed and it still work well and "unattended" after establishment on the coast? Thank you!


Thank you for the kind words!  Mr. Smarty Plants applauds your intention to use native grasses instead of the non-native Cynodon dactylon (bermudagrass) and Lolium sp. (ryegrass).  Native American Seed's Coastal Prairie Mix sounds perfect for your purpose.  Not only does it have beautiful native grasses [e.g., Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)] but the seeds were collected from the coastal prairie area from varieties well-adapted to the soils, the humidity and general climate of the area.  Additionally, there are forbs/wildflowers included in the mix [e.g., Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea), Croton monanthogynus (prairie tea)].  You should realize that  several of the grasses—e.g., Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)—are tall (6 to 8 feet) so your area is not going to look like an area planted in bermudagrass and ryegrass.  The tall grasses are beautiful to see, however, especially mixed with the other grasses and forbs/wildflowers and you will be helping to re-establish coastal prairie habitat for birds and other wildlife. Your question is very timely, by the way,  because now is the time to sow the seeds—in time for the spring rains.


More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
view the full question and answer

Plantings for a slope from New Carrollton MD
June 27, 2012 - My house (Maryland, near DC) sits at the bottom of a south facing slope. The soil is very heavy clay. The grade is about 1:20 for about 100 feet (with a steeper part at the top). Part of the hill is i...
view the full question and answer

Controlling switchgrass in Fredericksburg TX
June 12, 2010 - How do you kill switch grass..too much has grown on our property. Originally planted to stop erosion due to oak wilted trees lost on hill behind house, which worked,but now it is everywhere.
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants for a bird/small wildlife refuge in Wichita Co, TX.
August 26, 2011 - With our continuing drought in North Texas, I'm planning to transform my small backyard into a bird/small wildlife "refuge". What types of native plants and grasses can I plant in dry, hot Wichita ...
view the full question and answer

Brown rings on grass under live oaks in Austin
June 13, 2013 - There are brown rings in the grass at the dripline on several Live Oak trees in our neighborhood. What causes this? The trees appear healthy.
view the full question and answer

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