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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 24, 2010

From: Phenix City, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Problem with non-native sweet vernal grass, Anthoxanthum odoratum
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello there Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a question about growing Anthoxanthum odoratum known as sweet vernal grass. I'm trying to get Anthoxanthum odoratum, sweet vernal grass, to grow in my yard because I love the perfume fragrance it puts off when it's been cut. However it's not working out for me. I planted some sweet vernal grass in my yard but the other grass or grass species I have in my yard are actually growing over and taking over my sweet vernal grass and killing it. I have also read that sweet vernal grass can become very invasive but its not being invasive in my yard because the other grasses in my yard are taking it over and killing it. So please tell me why other grasses in my yard are taking over my Anthoxanthum odoratum, sweet vernal grass, and killing it. Thanks

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America.  Anthoxanthum odoratum, sweet vernal grass, is native to Eurasia so we really don't have any information about it that you can't find by searching on the Internet.  The linked article above has some information about its competitiveness.  You don't say what the other grasses are, but whatever they are, they are outcompeting your sweet vernal grass because they are bettered adapted to the growing conditions in your yard.  Here is some information about  care and growth requirements for sweet vernal grass.  You can find more information if you Google the botanical name.

 

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