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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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Tuesday - April 20, 2010

From: New Braunfels, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Three native grasses in grass mix research
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

On a recent visit to the wild flower center I was informed that you had satisfactory results from the grass mix research funded by Walmart. Please let us know which 3 grasses and the percentage of each that did well. I live in New Braunfels and I am preparing areas around my house for planting. Also a source to purchase locally would be nice.

ANSWER:

The three grasses are:  Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite).  Dr. Mark Simmons, who is in charge of the research, says that they used the grasses in approximately equal proportions. Native American Seed in Junction has the three grasses for sale individually but they also have two native turf grass mixes:  1) Native Sun Turfgrass, which contains only the buffalograss and the blue grama in a 2:1 ratio, and 2)  Thunder Turf that contains all three grasses. The proportion of curly mesquite in the Thunder Turf mix is very small compared to the buffalo and blue grama which are again in a 2:1 ratio.  You will note in their native grasses that curly mesquite is very expensive when compared to the other two.  You could use the Thunder Turf with the proportions of the grasses they provide; or, Mark suggested you might want to buy Native Sun Turfgrass and add as much of the curly mesquite you feel you can afford; or, buy the the Thunder Turf mix and add extra curly mesquite to it if you like.  The Thunder Turf page tells you what proportions to mix for smaller areas to be covered.

You can read more about the native lawns research and read one of our "How to Articles", Native Lawns: Multi-species, that gives you information about planting and maintaining native lawns.  This article recommends 2 lbs. of buffalo grass, 1.5 lbs. of blue grama and at least 4 oz. of curly mesquite to cover 1000 square feet.


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Hilaria belangeri

 

 

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