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?

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
    
 
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

Saturday - May 29, 2010

From: Chevy Chase, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for Boy Scout project in the Georgetown-Washington DC area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in the process of preparing an extensive native grass planting at Thompson's Boat House in Georgetown, Washington DC for a Boy Scouts of America Eagle Project. It is my intention to plant native grasses to salvage the barren landscape that now exists there. I was wondering if planting grasses native to Montgomery County, Maryland would be acceptable in Georgetown, and whether you have a recommendation as to what type of grass I should use. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

ANSWER:

Since Montgomery County lies adjacent to Washington DC, it would be fine to use grasses native to the county for projects in the Georgtown area.  You can compare the grasses native to Washington DC with those of Maryland by doing a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database.  Choose either Maryland or Washington DC from the Select State of Province box and then 'Grass/grass-like' from Habit (general appearance).  You will see that there are 218 species listed for DC and 314 for Maryland.  Just to be on the safe side you could use the Washington DC list to choose from.  Here are some choices from the DC list, but I think you will find them on either list.  For best results and coverage, it would be a good idea to use a combination of grasses for your project.  Most grasses grow well in the sun (more than 6 hours of sun per day).  Some will grow in the part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun per day) or shade (less than 2 hours sun per day).  You will need to check the 'Growing Conditions' for each species to see that it meets the characteristics of your site. 

Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem)

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)  If there is an area near the water that stays moist most of the time, this is a very good grass to put there.

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats) great for shady areas.

Deschampsia cespitosa

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Panicum virgatum (switchgrass)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Good luck with your project!

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of these grasses:


Andropogon gerardii

Andropogon glomeratus

Andropogon virginicus

Bouteloua curtipendula

Chasmanthium latifolium

Deschampsia cespitosa

Elymus canadensis

Koeleria macrantha

Muhlenbergia capillaris

Panicum virgatum

Schizachyrium scoparium

Sorghastrum nutans

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Stabilizing a lakeside slope from Bracey, VA
May 24, 2012 - We are trying to beautify and stabilize a relatively large lakeside steep slope with a southern exposure in central Virginia. The soil is characterized by red clay and shale rock. How can we turn this...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Cherokee sedge in Spicewood, TX
May 18, 2009 - I have several Cherokee sedges, just planted in March. Three of them are doing fine, but the rest look like they're dying. Some are right next to one that is doing great. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Comparison of native turf with St. Augustine and Kentucky bluegrass
May 11, 2011 - The native turf page mentions outperforming Bermuda grass, St. Augustine, and Kentucky blue, but the graphs only compare the natives to Bermudagrass. How do the native mixes stand up to St. Augustine...
view the full question and answer

Low height, drought tolerant grass for Central Texas
January 22, 2010 - What is the best drought tolerant grass for Central Texas that can be used as a low height lawn? I remember seeing a news account (Austin TV) about some UT research at the Wildflower Center that deve...
view the full question and answer

Grassburs in native lawn in Utopia TX
June 22, 2010 - I recently planted native Texas grass (Buffalograss, blue grama & curly mesquite) at my new house in the hill country. I had to bring in all the top soil. The grass is doing great, but in one area o...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center