En Español

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

Thursday - January 20, 2011

From: Grinnell, IA
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Short to Medium Height Grasses for Iowa
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

What short to medium height native grass can be planted in late fall at the same time I sow my wildflower seed?

ANSWER:

The challenge for you is not going to be deciding what to plant, it will be what not to plant. Many grasses will do well in Iowa.

Here's how you can come up with a list: go to Wildflower.org, hover the cursor over Explore Plants until a drop down menu appeared then clicked on Plant Database. Scroll down to Combination Search, select Iowa as the state, select Grass/Grass Like from the drop down menu under Habit. For Height, let's select 0 - 1 ft. and 1 - 3 ft. Let's assume you will be planting in full sun and your soil is dry. Make those selections in the search criteria, then submit the search.

When I did this, it returned 17 results. If you change the assumptions about sun and soil you may come up with more or less.

You can then click on the individual species to see pictures, descriptions, etc. of the plants the search identified.

Probably the best way to narrow your list of candidates down is to see what seeds are available. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center maintains a list of suppliers of native plants and seeds here: Native Plant Suppliers Directory. One seed supplier is Native American Seed. They have a great selection of grass seeds and grass seed mixtures.

Late fall is an ideal time to sow your grass seed.

Here are some examples:


Aristida purpurea


Bouteloua curtipendula


Bromus kalmii

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Best time to plant Habiturf in Austin
February 20, 2012 - When is the best time to plant Habiturf seeds?
view the full question and answer

Grasses for area under pecan tree in Tennessee
March 26, 2009 - I have two big pecan trees in my yard and would like to know what kind of grasses would thrive in the shade and also survive for my area of the country.
view the full question and answer

Plants to hold a slope in Western PA
April 04, 2010 - We have a hillside that keeps moving/sliding due to lack of vegetation. What kind of ground covering can we plant to help maintain and stabilize the hillside? If you need to know the climate here, we...
view the full question and answer

Can two species of Muhlenbergia be cross-pollinated from Portal AZ
July 17, 2012 - Will Muhlenbergia lindheimeri (Big Muhly) cross-pollinate with Muhlenbergia porteri (Bush Muhly)? I am attempting to restore the grasslands on my private property to a pre-1900 state. Bush Muhly was a...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine grass from Dallas TX
April 10, 2014 - Dear Mr. Pants, we are replacing dying St. Augustine grass in a small, sunny back yard with ground cover. What are your recommendations for a drought-tolerant evergreen ground cover? We will till a...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center