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
1 rating

Saturday - June 25, 2011

From: Castroville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grass lawn for San Antonio
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr Smartyplants, I live outside of San Antonio and my question is in regards to putting in a native grass lawn. What type of soil should I put down? I've sprayed herbicide and was planning on putting approximately 6 inches of screened top soil but was concerned that this poor soil would not support the grass well and I would be forever applying compost or other nutrients to keep the grass healthy. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Native turfgrass lawns require minimum or no fertilizer, minimum water and minimum mowing.  Please read our article, Native Lawns.  Please also check our How to Articles—Native Lawns:  Multi-species and Native Lawns:  Buffalograss.  These articles give you information about how to prepare your soil and how to plant and maintain a native turfgrass lawn.   The main thing you need to know about these turf grasses—Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass) is that they won't do well unless your site has at least 6 hours of sunshine per day.   If you have a shady lawn, then you need to think about some other type of lawn.  You can read the answer to a recent question Mr. Smarty Plants received asking about native grass for a shady lawn.  Additionally, although their seeds should still germinate and grow, it is going to require a reasonable amount of water until they are well-established.  Once they are established, however, these grasses will require little or no fertilizer, little water and infrequent mowing.  Native American Seed in Junction has turfgrass seed mixes—Thunder Turf with buffalograss, blue grama, and curly mesquite and Native Sun Turfgrass with ony buffalograss and blue grama.  They also sell the grass seeds of each species individually and they have some excellent advice on their Planting Tips, Resources and More page.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Re-landscaping neglected garden in Franklin CT
April 03, 2011 - I am starting from scratch in a yard that has no planting beds or, for that matter, plants at all. House was vacant for quite some time, grass was three feet tall when we moved in. I would like to p...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for sloped clay hillside in Ohio
October 16, 2008 - I have built a new home located on a hillside, our soil has a tremendous amount of clay in it. We have a sloped hillside that flows within 25 feet to the back door. The area is wooded and therefore ...
view the full question and answer

Grass for a Miniature Garden
July 18, 2013 - Please let me know what kind of grass is nice and short and tight for a miniature garden in a wooden box. I want to grow this grass in the box and I also want to know if I need to drill holes in the b...
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistance and Erosion Control for St. Louis County MO
January 03, 2014 - I am looking for deer and rabbit resistant native plants for erosion control on a steep ravine slope with part sun and part shade in St. Louis County MO.
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant plants for MA
August 28, 2011 - We have some very very poor soil at our house on Cape Cod and are looking for plants that will take low water and sandy soil. Also we are high on a hill and quite exposed to the elements. The plot get...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center