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
2 ratings

Wednesday - October 17, 2012

From: Bonsall, CA
Region: California
Topic: Erosion Control, Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Groundcover for Bonsall, CA
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in Bonsall, CA. (San Diego) I have 3 acres, flat and sloped that are graded dirt. (DG and sheep poop from previous owner). It is getting close to mud season and I'd like to plant winter cover. Actually my first preference would be UC Verde Buffalo grass as permanent lawn but that is impossibly expensive. Last year I planted winter rye at $600. This year I'd like to try something different. Any chance there are winter wildflowers? Meadow of wildflowers and rye would be great. Need coverage Nov- beginning of summer.

ANSWER:

Since you speak about using UC Verde Buffalograss as a permanent lawn, I am assuming that your house must be situated somewhere in the three acres in question.  If that is so, why not plant the area immediately around your house in UC Verde Buffalograss this year.  Do as much as you can afford. It uses little water, is drought tolerant and very low maintenance.  It should continue growing and spreading and you can add more buffalograss next year and continue each year until you have a complete coverage of buffalograss. For the part that you don't plant with buffalograss this year, you could consider planting with native perennials--grasses and groundcovers--instead of the non-native annual winter rye grass.  On bewaterwise.com, the website from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and The Family of California Water Agencies, you will fine Leymus triticoides (Creeping or beardless wildrye) listed as a drought resistant native meadow grass.  You can read more about it in the Plant Guide from the NRCS (National Resources Conservation Service) of the USDA.  Recon Native Plants in San Diego has plants of Leymus triticoides and Hedgerow Farms in Winters, CA has seeds for sale.  Larner Seeds in Bolinas, CA has a Golden State Native Grass Erosion Mix with three quick-growing, perennial native bunchgrasses native to Southern California—Hordeum brachyantherum (meadow barley), Bromus carinatus (California brome) and Elymus glaucus (blue wildrye)—that would be another possibility for the area where you don't plant buffalograss.

Check our National Suppliers Directory for nurseries and seed company specializing in native plants.   The San Diego Chapter of the California Native Plant Society also has a list of Sources for Seeds and Bulbs of California Natives as well as other information that you might find useful.

Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido and Santa Margarita has been specializing in native plants since the 1970s.  Their website has recommendations for lots of different situations.  If you want to intersperse the grasses with perennial groundcovers, they have lists of plants for flat native ground cover and for 1-2 foot ground cover pages.

By the way, the sheep poop should be great fertilizer if it's not full of weed seeds, but I'm afraid I don't know what DG is??

 

 

More Herbs/Forbs Questions

Plants to grow in shady area near a pecan tree in Maryland
March 26, 2013 - I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I have planted only natives in my front lawn. My backyard, which sports a pecan tree, fir, fig tree, and others I can't identify is dirt, just dirt. I have...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sunny, sandy site in Central Texas
January 22, 2015 - I live between La Grange and Schulenburg, Texas. My soil is sandy. Full sun, no trees. I am a senior citizen with limited funds who is allergic to Rye and Bermuda grass. I tried planting a lawn of...
view the full question and answer

Plant called beargrass from Granbury, TX
September 24, 2011 - I am not a native Texan. We have a clump of what my husband (from Big Spring) calls "Bear Grass." It is over to the side of our yard and we have always enjoyed it (moved here in 1982). It blooms ...
view the full question and answer

Fall blooming time for Copper Canyon Daisies
August 31, 2006 - None of our Copper Canyon Daisies bloomed this year. Can you tell us why? They have been prolific bloomers in past summers.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Shaded Slope in Philadelphia
April 17, 2015 - I have a small slope along the North side of my house in a suburb of Philadelphia. A small maple tree grows there but most of it gets no sun at all (a large segment is under the tree). I had the soil ...
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