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
1 rating

Monday - October 31, 2011

From: Paige/Bastrop, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Ground cover for burned acreage in Bastrop, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

The fire took 2/3 of the trees on my half acre in Bastrop County. It was mostly wild. What do I plant for ground cover? Do I plant native grass seed in fall? I want to keep it native as possible. Thank you.

ANSWER:

Native American Seed in Junction has developed a special mix of native grasses and wildflowers called Southeast Recovery Mix to help restore the land in Bastrop County.  The time to sow these seeds is now—in the fall.   They also  have two excellent sets of instructions—"How to Grow Native Wildflowers" and "How to Grow Native Seeds"—to help you prepare the soil and sow the seeds.  On our webpage I recommend that you read our How-to-Arcticle, "Meadow Gardening."  It explains why, when creating a meadow, you want both wildflowers and native grasses.  You might also find "Getting Started" useful.

If, however, you would rather just plant grasses, here a several that will do well in your area:

Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)

Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)

Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)

Sporobolus cryptandrus (Sand dropseed) and here are photos and more information.

Tridens flavus (Purpletop tridens)

Finally, you might contact Healing Hands, Healing Lands, a project begun by the Austin, Williamson County and Bastrop chapters of Native Plant Society; the Williamson, Travis, Bastrop and Hays County chapters of the Master Naturalists; the Travis and Hays County chapters of the Master Gardeners; Habitat Stewards of Austin; the Taylor Garden Club and the Crown Garden Glub  of Rockdale.  They are preparing native seed balls for distribution to "aid and accelerate healing of the ecosystems...in the areas of Central Texas recently damaged by wildfires."

 

From the Image Gallery


Sideoats grama
Bouteloua curtipendula

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

Indiangrass
Sorghastrum nutans

Purpletop tridens
Tridens flavus

More Groundcovers Questions

Coexistence of rubus trivialis and American beautyberry
May 28, 2007 - I'm growing some rubus trivialis in a 1-gal. pot and plan to plant it this fall. Will this dewberry coexist with American beautyberry, or must it have its own space entirely? If it needs its own sp...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers & Shrubs for Shade in North Carolina
April 30, 2013 - Mr Smarty Pants, My neighbor planted cypress trees as a border between his yard and ours and it is sucking up every drop of water and nutrient. We also have a purple plum in the area which creates ...
view the full question and answer

Low maintenance plants for crack in concrete
July 01, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to grow some very low maintenance weeds, mosses and flowers out of a crack in a slab of concrete. Can you recommend any species that would do well in this sort...
view the full question and answer

Drought tolerant ground cover for Midlothian, TX
June 17, 2012 - I'm looking for a fast, low ground cover. That is drought tolerant for a large slope.
view the full question and answer

Flowering groundcover for Indiana
May 25, 2009 - I live in southern Indiana and am looking for a nice flowering groundcover that will overcome the grass. It is on a hill that is very hard to mow.
view the full question and answer

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