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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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Tuesday - July 04, 2006

From: Weatherford, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Native grass and wildflower possibilities for Weatherford, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Weatherford, Texas - 20 acres and would love to have a prairie or soft cover throughout the year (less mowing). What do you recommend? I don't know anything about this ... So, feel free to share the basics. I did read that we could have southern tall grasses and short. I would love it to be a breezy place (Texas 100 degrees, hot, etc.). So, whatever moves with the wind and looks lush as opposed to a dry desert look. Open to all kinds of plants/wildflowers, etc. Thank you!

ANSWER:

First, I recommend you that read "Wildflower Meadow Gardening" from our Native Plant Library. It gives you information on what and when to plant and how to maintain your prairie meadow. There are several other articles in the Native Plant Library that might also be helpful (e.g., "Large Scale Wildflower Planting").

Here are suggestions for grasses that are known to grow in Parker County. Included are tall and short grasses that are attractive and mature at different times of the year.

Bushy bluestem (Andropogon glomeratus)
Purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea)
Silver bluestem (Bothriochloa laguroides)
Sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula)
Buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis)
Plains lovegrass (Eragrostis intermedia)
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Yellow Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides)


You can sow wildflower seeds along with your grasses. Here are a few suggestions for flowers:

Pink evening primrose (Oenothera speciosa)
Indian paintbrush (Castilleja indivisa)
Goldenwave (Coreopsis tinctoria)
Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Prairie verbena (Glandularia bipinnatifida)
Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata)
Maximilian sunflower (Helianthus maximiliani)
Dotted gayfeather (Liatris punctata)

You can visit our National Suppliers Directory to look for nurseries and seed companies in your area that specialize in native plants and carry seeds or plants for the grasses and wildflowers suggested above.
 

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