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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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Friday - June 10, 2011

From: Severn, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for a sandy Maryland yard
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Severn (AA County) where we have sandy soil and on a well/septic system. Can you tell me a native grass I can seed in my yard? Something hardy and does not require a lot of watering? Thanks.

ANSWER:

We could write a very long reply to your question and not come close to providing answers to your questions as usefully as a wonderful on-line resource written just for folks in your area. Bayscapes: Native Plant Guides, a publication of the Chesapeake Bay Field Office of the US Fish and Wildlife Service may be the best of its kind anywhere in the US. It provides excellent advice on landscaping with native plants, how to select them and where to find them. You also might find useful a commercial web site describing characteristics of several grasses.  These sources will help you pick grasses that withstand heavy traffic, shade, drought or other stresses you may anticipate.

Two books that will be excellent resources for you are: Wild Lawn Handbood: Alternatives to the Traditionals Front Lawn, by Stevie Daniels and Secrets to Great Soil, by Elisabeth Stell. Finally, we highly recommend contacting your local Maryland Cooperative Extension Service agent for very specific recommendations for your particular landscape.

 

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