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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.

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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.

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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!

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Thursday - May 13, 2010

From: San Marcos, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: Seeding an established buffalograss lawn to make it denser
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We have 5400 sq ft of existing Buffalo grass and would like to know if spreading Buffalo grass SEED would help the existing get more full? I can't seem to find the seed here or the Austin area? And, how often to water for how long? Isn't Buffalo grass tolerant for less water?

ANSWER:

Yes, it should.  You can find seeds for sale at Native American Seed in Junction, Texas.  You might want to consider their Thunder Turf mix which includes three native sun turf grasses—Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite).  This is the mixture that the Wildflower Center research has shown to work best for native lawns for grass density and for keeping out weeds.  Native American Seed has another mix, Native Sun Turfgrass, that includes just the buffalograss and the blue grama.  You can also buy each of these grasses separately.  Since you already have some grass established, your major objective in sowing your seeds is to be sure they come in contact with the soil.  If you have bare spots and can rake the soil before you sow the seeds, this wouuld be ideal and the sooner you do this the better it will be.  You will have to water (unless there is rain) until the seeds have germinated and the plants are about an inch tall.  Please read Native American Seed's article, Planting Tips for Native Grasses, for more information on watering and other aspects of establishing and caring for native lawns. Our How to Article, Native Lawns: Multi-species, has specific instructions for watering your native lawn, as well as for mowing and feeding it.

 

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