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
1 rating

Friday - August 03, 2012

From: Kensington, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Buffalograss from Kensington MD
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I'm going to follow-up on the buffalograss question from Charlottesville, since it wasn't answered fully. I'm wondering the same thing: can buffallograss survive the wet conditions of the more humid East? I'm also in 6B near DC and worry it's going to be too wet here for buffalograss..or perhaps does it need similar conditions to other prairie grasses like panicum or prairie dropseed?

ANSWER:

We are sorry we couldn't find the previous answer to which you referred, and that you considered it wasn't answered fully. About the best we can do is refer you to some research materials on Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss). Since we are not sure just what information you already have, please bear with us if we repeat something. We have a How-To Article on Buffalograss that quite extensively makes recommendations on where and whether it will grow. If you follow the plant link above to our webpage on this grass, you will see that it is not native to the East Coast. From this USDA Plant Profile Map, with the exception of Virginia, it does not occur on the East Coast, which would probably indicate that you are correct that it would encounter more moisture than would be good for it. Also, as do many native grasses, Buffalograss requires full sun, 6 hours or more of sun daily.

As for whether it would require the same conditions as panicum or prairie dropseed, we found 9 members of the genus Panicum native to Maryland and arbitrarily chose Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass), which has medium water use and can get by on sun or part shade (2 to 6 hours of sun daily). However, it is by no means a turf grass, so we're not sure if that comparison counts. Sporobolus heterolepis (Prairie dropseed) is also native to Maryland, and requires low water use, dry soil and full sun. Again, this sounds like buffalograss, but not like the conditions you are describing.

In summary, although we are still  not sure what information you felt was missing from a previous answer (which we also couldn't find), we would have to say that buffalograss does not seem like a very good choice for the area you are living in now. When you have read the webpages on each grass and the article to which we referred you, you know all we know.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Switchgrass
Panicum virgatum

Prairie dropseed
Sporobolus heterolepis

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
view the full question and answer

Plants for area around pool in Plano, Texas
October 13, 2009 - I just built an in ground pool in Plano, Texas and now want to landscape around it on my own. I am curious what plants/shrubs you recommend. There will be plants/shrubs on three sides of the pool. ...
view the full question and answer

What flowers will ducks and swans not eat?
January 11, 2009 - I live by ducks and swans. They love eating my flowers. Any suggestions on what flowering plants they won't eat?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shady Woodland in MA
June 09, 2013 - Hello, I am looking for natives to plant in full shade or part shade. My house is in the mountain woodland area of Mt. Washington, MA. I am looking for grasses, flowers and shrubs. Also I am looking f...
view the full question and answer

Invasive phragmites from New Egypt NJ
July 30, 2011 - I have some wetland near a road. It has been taken over by phragmites. How is the best way to remove these grasses and add some diversity to this area. The area in question is approx. 100 by 30 feet.
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center