Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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 Turf Questions

Watering schedule for sod lawn
November 23, 2008 - We just moved to Georgetown, TX, where we have a 2-month old sod lawn (NOT Zoysia) that appears to becoming fairly well-established. We want to conserve water for environmental and financial reasons....
view the full question and answer

Low water lawn for Austin
September 01, 2009 - I am interested in finding out more about low water lawns and was wondering if you have resources you might suggest. We have replanted with varying types of grass several times and my front lawn cont...
view the full question and answer

Replacing a Grass Lawn with Moss
January 02, 2010 - I have a small north facing yard that I would like to change from grass to moss. There is some moss now but still lots of grass. I need to rake a lot of leaves in the fall but want to get away from a ...
view the full question and answer

Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
October 16, 2011 - We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
view the full question and answer

Alternative for HABITURF® in Los Angeles County, CA
December 04, 2014 - The Habiturf brochure has a map indicating appropriate locales for growing this lawn. Excluded from the appropriate range is Southern California, where I live. Is Habiturf not recommended for this reg...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.