En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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


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!


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





More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants for steep slope in Pittsburgh PA
April 25, 2013 - I have a similar question to one from SC. I live in Pittsburgh, PA. We have a steep slope behind a newly built in pool. What type of plants can I put on the hillside to hold the soil. It gets a ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for field in Fairfield, TX
August 21, 2008 - We are clearing youpon, briars and small trees from 13 acres of woods near Fairfield, Texas. We want to plant native grass(s) that can tolerate shade and part shade, but also tolerate mowing(shredder...
view the full question and answer

Is sulfurous well water affecting leaves on trees in Belton TX
November 07, 2011 - We installed an irrigation system for our buffalo grass lawn last spring. The grass is fine but the leaves on the trees are burned where the water hits them. I suspect that the well we are using fo...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses to replace mondo grass in California
March 30, 2009 - Hello - I live in the Southern California coastal zone, and am looking for a drought resistant, turf alternative. My husband wants to use "Mondo Grass", but I know that is not native to the regi...
view the full question and answer

Assessment of Turffalo buffalograss
June 26, 2009 - Hi, I'm in the process of planning what type of turf to get for a new home in NW Austin. Turffalo/Tech Turf has showed up as a great possibility and I saw some mention of it back on March 05, 2008...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center