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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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Monday - January 24, 2011

From: Spring, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Low Maintenance Grasses for Montgomery County, Texas
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I have to replace a dead lawn. Can you recommend a low maintenance, low water need grass seed for Spring, in Montgomery County, Texas

ANSWER:

A native turfgrass sounds like what you need. Not only will native grasses require less water and mowing, they will also be more disease resistant.

The Wildflower Center os doing  ongoing research in the use of native grasses for lawns. Much of this research focuses on mixtures of native grasses, particularly a mixture of Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass). Most often, Mr. Smarty Plants recommends this mixture for people who want to establish native grass lawns in Texas. The only thing is, blue grama and curly mesquite are not native in the eastern part of the state so they may not do well in Montgomery County.

A better choice for you may be to plant buffalograss alone. Here is a How-to article on buffalograss that gives you tips on preparing the soil and sowing the seed. Buffalograss sod is available at many native plant nurseries and seed is widely available from vendors such as Native American Seed.

Buffalograss needs full sun. If you have shady areas, you may be better off with a native ground cover. Here is a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer that, in addition to talking about buffalograss, gives some suggestions for plants to use as ground cover.


Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

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