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?

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
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

Friday - June 03, 2011

From: Winnsboro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native Grasses for Winnsboro, Texas
Answered by: Stephen Scace and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What would be a good grass to plant in East Texas near Winnsboro? My soil is sandy.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants loves short questions, as they tempt him to indulge his expansive conceptualization of native plants. He will, however, try to restrain himself by means of some carefully crafted interpretations. He considers "good grass" in this instance to mean "native species" and further, infers an open-minded willingness to consider taller species and not just the turf grasses. This tolerance of mind is important, because the leading native Texas turf-grass species, Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), lacks tolerance for sandy soils. Nevertheless, the other two species in our native turfgrass mix, Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri var. belangeri (Curly-mesquite), will grow in sandy soils but may not form as thick a turf as the Buffalograss mix.

Winnsboro lies at the north end of the Post Oak Savannah, part of the great North American tall-grass prairie, whose dominant species include Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) and Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)–lovely grasses all. They are also tall. Indeed, all but the Little bluestem grow three to six feet tall. If such a prairie's historical richness and ecological appropriateness fails to ignite your passion sufficiently to put up with what admittedly may resemble a jungle, Mr. Smarty Plants understands.

More moderately sized grasses native to the prairie include Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)–the state grass of Texas–and Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass). You can find more grasses for your area of North Central Texas in the Post Oak Savannah list on our Recommended Species page.  Use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH feature in the sidebar to limit the list to grasses by choosing "Grass/grass-like" from the GENERAL APPEARANCE option.

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Stabilizing a shale slope in Virginia
April 08, 2009 - I have family members who recently built a new home in Virginia. The site required extensive excavation resulting in a large 30 foot, nearly vertical, shale wall behind the house. They now want to r...
view the full question and answer

Replacing St. Augustine with native grass in Austin
February 24, 2012 - We are renting a house our Sister-in-law owns- the St Augustine is in tough shape, drought and lack of care over the years. Could we plant a native grass or do we have to pull up the remaining St. Aug...
view the full question and answer

User comment on native grass mixes from Robstown TX
March 21, 2014 - As a followup to my question on seed spreaders, native grass and prairie seed mixes seem a good fit for my location in far western Nueces County which is more semi-arrid than 30 miles away in Corpus w...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Austin yard
March 08, 2012 - My main goal is to cover my yard with a "grass" or groundcover that can handle the Texas heat, predicted long drought and some dog paw traffic (without going dormant/brown in the winter). I don't n...
view the full question and answer

Dealing with rain runoff on a slope in Austin
March 24, 2012 - Our lawn is a year old and slopes at about a 45 degree angle with a lot of small holes and tiny gullies from water run-off. I have tried packing them with soil, but it washes away in the rain. Would ...
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