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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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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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Saturday - July 31, 2010

From: Brooksville, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Grass information for Brooksville FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Do you have any suggestions of seeding rates,row spacing, or size of plugs for restoration of Panicum rigidulum or Panicum abscissum? Basically interested in a pasture planting with cutthroat grass on ranchland, but I may be able to use redtop info as similar more well-known species. Thanks

ANSWER:

Please don't let this get around, but Mr. Smarty Plants doesn't know everything. We have to depend on research to find answers to many of our questions, and when there doesn't appear to be any research on the subject, we have to admit it. We are going to tell you what we know about the two grasses you have mentioned, both of which are native to North America and to Florida. 

Panicum rigidulum (redtop panicgrass) is native not only to the area on the central west coast of Florida where Hernando County is, but also to several other states. Panicum abscissum, on the other hand is endemic only to central Florida, and is not known to grow anywhere else in North America. Obviously, both can tolerate the USDA Hardiness Zones of 9a to 9b in which you live. 

We found very little research or information on either grass. On Panicum rigidulum (redtop panicgrass), here is one from the USGS Northern Prairie Widlife Center on Redtop panicum.   Also, there was a long research paper from a government agency in Florida called Cutthroat Grass Communities. We hope it had some of the information you needed; our eyes glaze over at about the third line of research papers. 

Your next best bet is to contact the University of Florida Extension Office for Hernando County.  These are people who are in contact with specialists in that sort of thing and can possibly even provide you with printed instructions. Beyond that, a good source of information is always that from suppliers of plants. Go to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state into the "Enter Search Information" box and you will get a list of native plant seed suppliers, nurseries and consultants in your general area. All have contact information and websites.

Images of Panicum rigidulum from Google

Images of Panicum abscissum from Google

 

 

 

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