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

Saturday - September 18, 2010

From: Saint Marys, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for hill in Saint Mary's County, Maryland
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Is there a native grass or grasses I can mow on a hill that faces south and is too large to water in Saint Marys County, Maryland?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is a little confused and thinks some translation needs to be done on your question.  I am confused about the 'mow' part of the question and think perhaps you meant to say 'sow'?  Assuming that's the case, here is how you can choose some grasses for the hill.  You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH  in our Native Plant Database by selecting 'Maryland' from Select State or Province and 'Grass/Grass-like' from Habit (general appearance).  This will give you more than 340 grasses or grass-like plants native to Maryland to look through.  You can shorten the list by using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option. Since I don't the other characteristics of the hill I can't be sure what choices you need to make.  For instance, if your hill is in sun and dry and you want the grass to be less than 3 feet tall, you would select 'Sun -' from LIGHT REQUIREMENT, 'Dry-' from SOIL MOISTURE and both '0-1' and '1-3' from HEIGHT (IN FEET).  This would narrow the list to 15 species.  (The characteristics you put in, of course, will change the number of species in the list.) You can open the links for each of the grasses and find that many of them will tolerate other growing conditions as well.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you specifically if these are native to Saint Marys County.  For most states it is possible to find this out by scrolling to the bottom of our species page and clicking on the species link by the USDA under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES.  This will take you to the USDA Plants Database.  Clicking on the state on the Distribution Map (or on its abbreviation in the list below the map) on the USDA page would show you a map of the state with counties highlighted where the plant has been found.  However, the USDA Plants Database doesn't have that information for Maryland for some reason.

With all that said and done, here are several grasses and sedges native to Maryland that are commercially available that should work on your hill.  You, of course, can search for more that meet your specific requirements.

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Bromus kalmii (Arctic brome)

Carex blanda (Eastern woodland sedge)

Carex pensylvanica (Pennsylvania sedge)

Koeleria macrantha (Prairie junegrass)

Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed)


Bouteloua curtipendula


Bromus kalmii


Carex blanda


Carex pensylvanica


Koeleria macrantha


Sporobolus heterolepis

 

 

 


 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Turf for high-traffic area in Austin
April 21, 2012 - I am building a large soccer field at my preschool in Austin, TX in a full sun area. What type of grass would be best for me to use given that it will be a very high-traffic area with lots of direct ...
view the full question and answer

Distinguishing Bermuda grass from Buffalo grass
June 14, 2007 - Is Bermuda grass taking over my Buffalo grass lawn? I recently sodded a small area of Buffalo Grass 'Prairie' (last fall). It's doing beautifully, or so I think. There are stolons running and reach...
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

Alternative to Habiturf™ for San Franciso area
October 05, 2014 - Will Habiturf thrive in San Francisco? My current sod lawn is dying because the soil has become extremely hard. I'll replace the top couple of inches but underneath is a mix of sand and clay.
view the full question and answer

Using corn gluten to suppress weeds in buffalo grass, blue grama and curly mesquite
March 22, 2010 - I own a home in central Austin and am replacing my St. Augustine lawn with a native grass blend of Buffalo, Blue Grama, and Curly Mesquite as a pre-emptive attack for the inevitable drought conditions...
view the full question and answer

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