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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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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

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