Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Tuesday - July 06, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Sowing native grass seeds in July in Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a bare patch of soil behind my house. Can I sow native grass seeds now?

ANSWER:

It would not be a good idea. In spite of the rain and comparatively cool weather we have had in the first few weeks of Spring and Summer, the real Central Texas Summer is now here. Please read some of our How-To Articles and one from our Conservation section on the planting of native grass seeds in this part of the state:

Native Lawns: Buffalograss

Native Lawns: Multi-Species - note this article says early Spring is best, don't do it in mid-Winter or mid-Summer.

From our Conservation section: Native Lawns

These all involve native, lawn-type grasses, and all those grasses need full sun, which we consider to be 6 hours or more of sun a day. If there is a lot of shade, you may have to opt for some low-growing native groundcovers. You didn't say what size this patch of ground is, but you could also choose a mix of native grasses and wildflowers. See our How-To Article on Meadow Gardening

The message here is: don't try to get new plants going in extremes of weather, hot or cold. Whatever you plant needs to be appropriate to the sunlight available, the soil and the purpose for which it will be used. Unfortunately, none of these can be achieved by just pitching some seeds out. You can spend the time between now and the right season for planting preparing the ground, for which there are instructions in all of the articles to which we referred, as well as planning and selection of what you want to plant. There is no point in planting grass seeds now, they won't start to germinate until Spring, which will give insects, birds and the wind plenty of time to carry off the seeds. And, finally, native plants are not a no-care cure-all. They will need to be protected from invasive weeds and irrigated, at least for the first few months until the plants can become well-established.  

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Erosion Control with perennials for a shady Dallas bank
July 25, 2013 - Thank you for your help with turf or perennials on a shaded bank, 4000 sq ft, for the Dallas area that has good roots, grows in semi shade to shade, is on a steep bank so cannot mow, and flowers the l...
view the full question and answer

Planting creeping phlox for a groundcover
June 13, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Southwestern PA (zip code 15065). I have a small slope on my property that is hard for me to mow. I would like to cover it with creeping phlox, which I saw on t...
view the full question and answer

Grass mixture for Spicewood TX
August 14, 2012 - I want to seed a bare sand limestone area about 2 acres in size. Assuming "normal" Texas hill country weather and the availability of moderate water for sprinkling is there one mixture that you reco...
view the full question and answer

Shorter drought-tolerant grasses
August 31, 2007 - We live on 1 1/2 acres near Dripping Springs. We have a variety of grasses, mostly tall, on the back and side of the property. Is there some type of drought tolerant shorter grass or wildflowers or gr...
view the full question and answer

Plants to prevent creekside erosion in Nacogdoches County, Texas
December 09, 2014 - I am looking for some advice on plants native to Texas that can help prevent erosion. I own a wooded lot with a creek and would like to consolidate the sides of the creek against potential erosion. I...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.