Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Sunday - April 25, 2010

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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.

 

 

 

More Turf Questions

Elimination of bermuda grass from St. Augustine lawn
January 04, 2005 - Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I am so frustrated with the bermuda grass mixed with St. Augustine grass. I have tried Ortho-B-gone but it did not work. Is there any measure to kill the Bermuda grass but not...
view the full question and answer

Removal of Bermuda grass in lawn
November 22, 2006 - Help! I am looking for a way to get rid of coastal bermuda grass in my yard, short of all out toxic chemical warfare. Is there any thing that can be used other than herbicides. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for shaded lawn in Austin, Texas
December 31, 2009 - I want to replace three scrawny ligustrums on the shady north front of my house with native plants. I'd like evergreen plants that don't need much maintenance. I'm not looking for a hedge, but some...
view the full question and answer

Source for nitrates and phosphorus (P205) for lawn care
July 04, 2008 - I recently supplied soil samples from my back yard to my local extension here in Austin. I have a hybrid Bermuda turf grass (TIF 419) that has had its share of ups and downs, and wanted to assess the ...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance, water and height lawn
September 10, 2007 - We would like to replace our lawn that covers a large area of our front and back yard and is watered daily and twice a day in summertime with drought resistant plants. Mr. Smarty Plants, could you rec...
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.