En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
5 ratings

Sunday - July 24, 2005

From: Milan-Italy, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Alkalinity-tolerant grasses
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus/Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

Dear Sirs - Are you aware of any grass species that could survive in strongly alkaline soils (ph from 10 up to 12) Thanks a lot.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise is on plants native to North America and we know of no North American grasses that will grow on such extremely alkaline soils.

We did find a couple of grasses, one from Australia and one from New Zealand, that tolerate alkaline soils. Vetiver zizanioides, used in Australia for mine rehabilitation, is reported to be highly tolerant of extreme soil conditions including heavy metals and pH levels from 3.0 to 10.5. You can read more about this grass on the Vetiver Network webpage. Another grass reported to grow on strongly alkaline soils is Australopyrum calcis, a grass endemic to New Zealand.

With such extreme pH readings it sounds as if you might dealing with mine tailings or some other toxic waste site. If so, we can direct you to several sources that address this issue:

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Phytoremediation Research

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Remediation Technologies (FRTR): Phytoremediation

EPA and RTDF (Remediation Technologies Development Forum) Phytoremediation Bibliography

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

When to seed a native grass lawn in a drought area?
December 15, 2011 - I want to plant a native grass lawn. It is raining now. Can I plant it in December? It might not be raining in the spring if the drought continues.
view the full question and answer

Would there be wild buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) growing in Williamson County?
May 13, 2009 - Greetings, I have done a "test planting" of buffalo grass in my yard. There are now some blooms (?) on the grass and I have noticed similar blooms on grass in two different places in the area (Tay...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for roadside in Gallatin TN
February 19, 2012 - What native plant would you suggest that we try to establish on 100 feet of road frontage which gets full afternoon sun? The soil is mostly clay, and it's on a rather sleep hill about 10 feet high. ...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover under live oaks
June 18, 2012 - I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
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

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center