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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 - January 20, 2011

From: Manor, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for horses in Manor, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi, Can you tell me which native grasses to plant that would grow (and be drought tolerant) in the Manor area. The area we would like to plant seeds has some sun and part shade. There appear to be some native grasses growing (in clumps). The soil in our area is clay. Horses will be grazing in these pastures. Thanks for any suggestions you can provide!

ANSWER:

There used to be a wonderful site (Forages of Texas) from the Texas AgriLife Research Center and Extension Service in Stephenville that described the nutritional value of native grasses.  Unfortunately, it no longer seems to exist.  However, from a previous answer I wrote to a question to Mr. Smarty Plants there are grasses that I can recommend from that site.

These are native grasses that will do well in Manor's clay soils and in sun and part shade.  They are all drought tolerant.

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass) grows in sun, part shade and shade and is highly drought tolerant.

Tripsacum dactyloides (Eastern gamagrass) does best in moist soils, on stream banks or in seepy area.

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama) grows in sun and part shade and is the official state grass of Texas.  It is highly drought tolerant.

Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) is considered to be one of the most nutritious of the prairie grasses and is highly drought tolerant.  It would be good for the areas that have full to almost full sun.  It doesn't do well in shady areas. 

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) is a fair to good forage for horses.  It is highly drought tolerant and grows in sun and part shade.

Native American Seeds in Junction, Texas offers high quality native grass seeds and grass seed mixes for sale as well as wildflowers and wildflower/grass mixes.  They also have planting tips online. 

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Sorghastrum nutans


Tripsacum dactyloides


Bouteloua curtipendula


Bouteloua dactyloides


Schizachyrium scoparium

 

 

 

 

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