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

Tuesday - August 02, 2011

From: Hockley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Drought Tolerant, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Survival of native lawn in Hockley TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm on the edge of the Katy Prairie and a very large ranch with full blasting sun and completely open exposure. The soil is fill from the developers with more clay than sand, a minimum of nutrients, and is very slightly acidic. After repeatedly killing the existing bermuda/bahia/former pasture/fill dirt/prairie grass mix, I planted a new lawn of buffalo and blue grama grasses. Unfortunately, the ground was rock hard from compaction and we had to till just to get the seed planted. Now the battle is on between the new grasses and the old ones that are resprouting along with the spurge we tilled up. Although I'm helping the new lawn by hand weeding as much as possible, what is most likely to win the battle in the end?

ANSWER:

In the Conservation section of our website, there is an article on Native Lawns, which includes graphs on the success of the native lawns in competition with weeds. Judging from those graphs, we would say that your selection of grasses is the best on the basis of current research. Then, in the Explore Plants section (where Mr. Smarty Plants lives) there are How-to Articles on Native Lawns: Buffalograss and Native Lawns: Multi-Species. Obviously, we wouldn't be doing all this research, or at least not bragging about it, if we thought there was less chance that the native grasses would ultimately prevail. It must be very discouraging for you right now to be trying to maintain your new lawn in the face of the adverse weather we have been having in Texas this year. But we think you are going in the right direction and, given some better weather and maybe some rain, while the weeds will appreciate that, too, the grasses that are native and actually belong there will prosper even more.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Erosion control in Spicewood TX
March 20, 2013 - I am from a small community along the Colorado River a few miles East of Marble Falls. We are looking for a ground cover/grass to prevent erosion on on our beach front. We had planned to use Bermuda G...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping plants for Sherman, Texas
December 19, 2007 - We are starting from scratch on landscaping our new yard. We live in Sherman, TX and I would like to use plants and flowers that are native to Texas and have a good chance of surviving. What are you...
view the full question and answer

Turf grass for part-time home from Louisville KY
April 28, 2012 - We have a small yard at a remote location with cistern water, and need a turf grass for a yard, clay soil, which I am willing to amend. It will receive sporadic attention as my husband and I do not l...
view the full question and answer

Need landscape suggestions for area exposed after last flood on Black Creek in Forrest County. MS
September 18, 2009 - We live on the Black Creek in Mississippi. After the last flood, we now have a steep sandy slope which is unmowable, and incredibly weedy. We want to remove the unsightly weeds- kill if necessary, and...
view the full question and answer

Suggestions for Texas native plants for memorial
June 30, 2005 - A dear friend of ours has passed and we would like some ideas of a native Texas plant we could plant in memory of her. It will be grown in the hill region near Houston. Thank you.
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center