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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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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

 

 

 

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