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

Sunday - May 13, 2012

From: Dallas, GA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Speed of bluestem grass spreading in Georgia red clay from Dallas GA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How fast does bluestem spread in Georgia red clay?

ANSWER:

We are assuming you are referring to bluestem grass. There are two grasses native to Georgia with "bluestem" as part of their common name.

The first, Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem) is shown on this USDA Plant Profile map as not being native to Paulding County, but is shown as native to Barton County to the north and Dougas County to the south. If you follow the plant link to our webpage on this plant, you will learn that it is a warm season, perennial grass with blue-green stems that grows 4 to 8 ft. tall. Soil Description: Acid or calcareous sands, loams, and clays, so we know it will grow in clay, but no idea how fast.

From our webpage on this grass:

"Big Bluestem needs more moisture to look its best than does Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), but it is quite drought-tolerant when in deep prairie soils because of its deep roots. If used in a garden, too much water, shade, or fertilizer can cause it to get top-heavy and fall over. It is moderately tolerant of acidity and salinity and can withstand periodic flooding and high water tables."

For more information see this USDA Natural Resources Conservation website on Big Bluestem.

"Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem) is shown on this USDA Plant Profile map as not growing natively in Paulding County, but does in counties around it. Again from our website on this grass:  

"Soil Description: Well-drained soil. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Limestone-based. It readily reseeds so little bluestem is not recommended for small gardens. Little bluestem is tolerant of a wide range of soils but will not tolerate wetlands or sub-irrigated sites."

About the best we could find on speed of growing in this plant is that it is a perennial and will get to about 2 ft. by the first Fall. For more information on this grass, see this Floridata article on Little Bluestem.

Both plants can apparently grow in clay, but there is seldom information on the growing speed of grasses, under any conditions or in any soils.

 

From the Image Gallery


Big bluestem
Andropogon gerardii

Little bluestem
Schizachyrium scoparium

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Time to Plant Blue Grama Seeds in Spring Branch, Texas
June 11, 2011 - We would like to plant Blue Grama grass seeds but due to the hot weather with no rain here in central Texas, can we wait until September or even October to plant grass seeds? Thank you
view the full question and answer

Can Habiturf be planted by hydroseeding from Austin?
February 04, 2012 - We are thinking about seeding our lawn with HABITURF. Could you provide any input on whether HABITURF can be planted by hydroseeding? Thanks!
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

Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
June 07, 2014 - Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.
view the full question and answer

Native xeric grasses for Colorado
June 24, 2010 - Tired of mowing - replacing western exposure full sun lawn with native xeric grass. Please explain the pros and cons of Bouteloua Gracilis (Blue Grama) and Bouteloua Dactyloides Bella (Bella Blue Gra...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center