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

Monday - December 19, 2011

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pruning, Seasonal Tasks, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Burning back Gulf Muhly instead of trimming from San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

A few years ago I noticed that the Center burned back its Gulf Muhly rather than cutting it back. Did that study result in any conclusions or recommendations?

ANSWER:

From Joe Marcus, the Wildflower Center's Collections Manager and a member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team:

"We’ve had so much rain lately that most burn bans have been lifted, at least temporarily.  You’d have a hard time getting anything at all to burn outside right now.

Gulf muhly has responded well to burning for us.  You would want to burn it – carefully, of course, in January or February."

We want to caution that this is the situation now. We are expecting more drought and heat, so use common sense-if everything around is tinder dry, the wind is blowing or there is other vegetation close by, we recommend NO FIRE, but hand shearing the grass. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

More Pruning Questions

When to prune Texas Coral Honeysuckle in Iredell, TX?
January 31, 2012 - When can I prune Texas coral honeysuckle? It needs to be pruned so that it will fill out. Also, how much do I prune it? Thank you,
view the full question and answer

Removing a non-native windmill palm from Austin
February 27, 2013 - I have a fairly good size windmill palm (about 15ft high) that is planted too close to the house. I also don't like having to constantly remove its fronds as they block a walkway. Is there a good wa...
view the full question and answer

Poverty plant overgrown in Austin
June 06, 2012 - We have a poverty plant that is too big for its space in our yard. We like it and want to keep it. Can it be transplanted easily? What about pruning it.
view the full question and answer

When Should I Prune Texas Sage?
July 07, 2016 - How and when do you prune Texas sage to encourage thicker foliage?
view the full question and answer

Lifespan and pruning of cedar elm in San Antonio
October 03, 2009 - How long do cedar elm trees live? How can you estimate the age of one, or tell if it is nearing the end of its normal lifespan? Do you have any recommendations for selecting someone to prune it proper...
view the full question and answer

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