En Español

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

Wednesday - April 04, 2012

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Planting, Grasses or Grass-like, Wildflowers
Title: Replacing non-native invasives with native grasses and wildflowers from Round Rock TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small piece of property (1.5 AC) East of Austin, Texas that get's overgrown with weedy vegetation (johnson grass, dandelion, and some tall yellow flowering plant that I see all over the medians and right of ways). It is also partially shaded, but can certainly get 6 hours / day of sun. Is it possible to overseed with native grasses like buffalo and blue grama or does the weedy vegetation need to be removed to successfully replace with the native grasses?

ANSWER:

Would that it were that easy. Unfortunately, newly seeded native grasses need weeding, watering and soil preparation before they can prosper. The yellow, flowering plant you are seeing is Bastard Cabbage, which has been much in the news lately. If you possibly can, dig or pull it out. It can, of course, be mowed, but that would eliminate the seeding phase of the wildflowers and grasses you want to encourage. And, if you mow bastard cabbage, it will pop right back up, run along the ground and quickly get some fresh flowers to produce seed. What you want to do is prevent it seeding, of course, and pulling out root and all is the only way to do that, and you will still get seeds blowing iin from other properties.

First, a newsclip from one of the Austin tv stations on bastard cabbage, because anyone who can lay their hands on it needs to do just that, and cause a whole lot of damage to the plant. Otherwise, the rest of our answer is useless.

How-To Articles:

Native Lawns: Buffalo Grass.

Meadow Gardening

Recreating a Prairie

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Replacing St. Augustine with native grasses in San Antonio
November 04, 2009 - I am hoping to replace St. Augustine on a sloped yard with native grass. I was wondering where I might get information on the prairie grass seed mats used by the TXDOT highway dept to stop erosion. ...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for a prairie in southeast Texas
September 30, 2013 - We have a small place (about 100 acres) in Colorado County, Texas, on the Colorado River north of the town of Weimar. We are gradually clearing (bulldozing) the woods of cedars. One particular spot ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for narrow strip between sidewalk and fence
May 01, 2008 - I have a strip of land about 5 inches wide and 30 feet long -- between the fence and the sidewalk -- that I would like to plant something that would look nice and wouldn't require the weedeater every...
view the full question and answer

Need something to compete with Virginia wild rye in Bristol, TN.
July 29, 2011 - I have been working for 4 years to convert a large area of sunny lawn (150' x 40') to a native woodland planting, using native trees, shrubs, flowers and grasses. Although I used seeds of a variety ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a bioswale in Baltimore
July 22, 2009 - What native plants would suit a bioswale in an urban part of Baltimore City? The clay soil gets waterlogged and the site has part shade.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center