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?


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
1 rating

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


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?


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

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

Best grass for the shade in Austin, TX.
July 01, 2015 - What is the best grass seed for shade in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Restoring a prairie from Austin
January 11, 2013 - Restoring a mixed grass Blackland Prairie? Prairie Plant Succession? We are trying to establish climax species when an area is in a pioneering phase. Does the soil chemistry or biota change during ...
view the full question and answer

When to harvest native grass seeds?
May 29, 2015 - We are trying to restore native grasses to a small pasture between Oak Hill and Dripping Springs. Last spring (2014), we seeded a mix of sideoats grama, little bluestem, dahl bluestem, and sprangleto...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf installation after Take-All fungus
January 24, 2012 - Are other soil remedies needed (besides those listed in your Habiturf brochure) to install Habiturf on land which had a St. Augustine lawn which was decimated by take all patch.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center