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
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

Native plants and grasses for river bank from Rosanky TX
February 19, 2014 - Our property owners association would like to know what native plants/grasses to plant on the Blanco River bank in our river park to help prevent erosion. Some banks are steep and some areas are a gra...
view the full question and answer

Low growing erosion control plants for lakeside in Washington Township NJ
May 12, 2013 - I live on a small lake in Northern NJ and have installed beautiful Boulders along the water to help stop erosion. Now I want to add plants along the property but would like low growing, soil retentio...
view the full question and answer

When should I plant bermuda grass seeds?
February 10, 2010 - When should I plant bermuda grass seeds?
view the full question and answer

Low-growing grass for steep hill in Austin
February 10, 2010 - I'm looking for a low-growing grass for a steep hill in my backyard. My issues are it can't be mowed because the hill is too steep, it can't be trimmed with a weed eater because it's a very large...
view the full question and answer

Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
August 04, 2012 - Have lots of muhly grass planted 3 yrs ago. This yr about 1/3 are VERY slow. Still look like hay stacks. No pattern in the bed. You mentioned pesticides being too close?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center