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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.

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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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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

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