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Sunday - April 25, 2010

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Native grasses for a lawn in Wimberley, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Is there a lawn grass that will go dormant with no water at all and come back? ..in Wimberley? our native grass didn't survive the drought.


We can't guarantee that there are any native lawn grasses that will withstand all drought situations; however, the Wildflower Center has been doing research on the best combination of native lawn grasses that require no fertilizers, little water and little mowing.  The three grasses are Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite). We had a recent question about the ratios of the grasses used in the research.  Here is an excerpt from that answer:

"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 will have to have moisture to get the grasses to germinate and become established.  Hopefully, the recent rains will be a regular occurrence and you won't have to water.  Once they are established they should survive all but the severest of droughts without any added water. 

One of our "How to Articles", Native Lawns: Multi-species, 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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