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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - April 28, 2012

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources, Seeds and Seeding, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Making sod from native grass seeds from Pflugerville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am trying to install a native lawn. A story on KVUE suggested 2 lb Buffalo, 1.5 lb Blue Grama, and 6 oz of Curly Mesquite. I have some seeds purchased from seedsource.com about 2 years ago. I can get the Buffalo grass to grow with little problem. The other two not so much. What is the magic incantation to get the other two to grow? Could the seeds be too old? I think my best bet is to try to make my own sod (I think I can get them to grow on my side yard which is in the shade in the afternoon and will not thus cook them). Any ideas where to find sod forms?

ANSWER:

Let's start at the beginning. You probably heard about Habiturf. Read the linked article through for instructions on planting it. It is recommended for seeding only on well-prepared soil. Another article on Native Lawns discuss the research that went into the development of this grass. Neither article mentions the precise portions of the three grass seeds that are combined, but your numbers sound like a fair approximation of the proportions.

From Native American Seed, you can see Native Sun Turfgrass, which is composed of 80% buffalograss and 20% blue grama seeds, no curly mesquite.

We heard that those who purchased native grass turf squares frequently found them pre-infested with nutgrass, not a desirable addition to the combination. We don't think making your own sod is really practical, and don't know a source for sod forms. Also, in your situation, you probably don't have enough sun in your side yard for the grasses to flourish; they need 5 to 6 hours of sun a day.

On the subject of viability of the 2-year old seeds, we could find very little hard information. This USDA Forest Service website on Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass) has only one short comment on the seeds:

"Curlymesquite has good soil binding qualities and grows on most soils, so it has potential as a rehabilitation species. Commercial seed is hard to get, so mulching with hay is the most economical seed source. Also, curlymesquite is not drought resistant, so revegetated sites need sufficient irrigation." The article also mentioned that the plant is shade intolerant and seedling vigor is "medium," whatever that means.

We had about the same luck trying to find out much about the seeds of Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama). All we found on the USDA Forest Service on this plant about seeding was: "Blue grama is readily established from seed, but depends more on vegetative reproduction."

We did find an article on Maintaining Grass Seed Viability from Oregon State University. In summary, we do not have a magic incantation for getting those two grasses to grow; you might contact the original source for your seed to see what they recommend.

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Low cost landscaping in Federicksburg VA
February 22, 2009 - Hello, I live in Fredericksburg Va and I rent a townhome with a small yard. My back yard is almost completely mud and my front yard has a hideous square shrub. So my question is do you have any plant ...
view the full question and answer

Stabilizing a lakeside slope from Bracey, VA
May 24, 2012 - We are trying to beautify and stabilize a relatively large lakeside steep slope with a southern exposure in central Virginia. The soil is characterized by red clay and shale rock. How can we turn this...
view the full question and answer

Is sulfurous well water affecting leaves on trees in Belton TX
November 07, 2011 - We installed an irrigation system for our buffalo grass lawn last spring. The grass is fine but the leaves on the trees are burned where the water hits them. I suspect that the well we are using fo...
view the full question and answer

Plants for erosion control in Pittsburgh, PA
August 22, 2009 - I have a terraced high side lot(front of house). I currently have Yuccas growing, but they are too invasive. Can you suggest plants, shrubs, or ground covers that are not as invasive and will still ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a lakeside bank in NC
November 07, 2011 - Our association is looking to plant a huge sloped area that runs down to Lake Wylie. We want to plant something that is good for erosion and that does not grow too tall so that we keep our view of th...
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