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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.

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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.

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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!

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Saturday - August 04, 2012

From: Spring Hill, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

There is exactly one member of the Muhlenbergia genus native to Florida, Muhlenbergia capillaris (Gulf muhly) and, as you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map, it is also native to Hernando County, so if that is the grass you have, at least you are growing it in the right place.

As you have been growing this grass for 3 years, you must already be familiar with its growing habits. Since it is a grass, a pesticide that damaged it would have to be either a full-spectrum herbicide or formulated for monocots, or grasses. Without knowing the history of the plant's growth, we really have no way of knowing if wayward puffs of a monocot spray may have reached it. If you have suspicions that is the case, about all you can do is trim the grass down in cooler weather, as you ordinarily do, and hope fresh stalks come up from the roots in the Spring.

However, considering the kind of weather the whole country is having - flooding, drought, heat - we think it more likely this is an environmental problem. If you follow the plant link above to our webpage on this grass, you will learn that it has high water needs, likes full sun and a moist soil. 

From Floridata (which we thought was appropriate) here is more information.

 

From the Image Gallery


Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

Gulf muhly
Muhlenbergia capillaris

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