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

Wednesday - January 23, 2013

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Mexican feathergrass from Pflugerville, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How deep are the roots of Nassella tenuissima? I'm looking for something that could possibly discourage my neighbors' bermuda grass from encroaching into my native plantings.

ANSWER:

From our website on Nassella tenuissima (Mexican feathergrass):

"It is native in North America only to mountains in west Texas and adjacent New Mexico south to central Mexico, but it has become widely used throughout hospitable areas of the US and elsewhere."

We could find not specific lengths of the roots of this native plant, but generally speaking, grasses have long fibrous roots, the length of which can range from 3 ft. to 40 ft. As noted in some literature we have seen, Mexican Feathergrass can even become invasive in an area that suits it very well. But, it will never be as invasive and obnoxious as the non-native bermudagrass, which is considered one of the most invasive weeds in the South. Here is a similar previous Mr. Smarty Plants question to yours which also deals with the problem of a neighbor's bermudagrass.

On the use of the Nassella tenuissima (Mexican feathergrass) as a barrier, it's not a bad idea. It's also pretty aggressive, it's tough and attractive, low water use, etc. We still don't think it will totally block out the neighbor's grass, because the bermudagrass has two weapons in its armory: above-ground stolons and below-ground stolon. Even if you block the grass from the yard next door, there are already below-ground stolons waiting to pop up on your side of the Mexican feathergrass wall. One suggestion that we have that could help is that bermudagrass does not do well in shade; if you can find a way to shade out the invading grass, including with the taller feathergrass, you could make some progress. See this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on using solarization to deal with bermudagrass. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Mexican feathergrass
Nassella tenuissima

Mexican feathergrass
Nassella tenuissima

Mexican feathergrass
Nassella tenuissima

More Non-Natives Questions

Irish Strawberry tree care from Sydney Australia
April 15, 2012 - Hi I have an Irish Strawberry tree - AKA Arbutis Enedo. I have had it for a couple of years now, I have it planted in the ground quite healthy soil, I feed it Dynamic lifter (chicken manuare/pellet f...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native photinia in Austin
October 07, 2013 - Hi, I live in Cedar Park, TX (Austin Suburb)and have planted a number of Photinia shrubs in various areas of my property. All about 10 months old. The leaves are curling along their length on many...
view the full question and answer

Fruit fly maggots attacking non-native Grumichama in Lake Worth FL
March 12, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants How do I prevent fruit fly maggots from attacking my Grumichama fruit?
view the full question and answer

Replacements for photinia from San Antonio
August 31, 2012 - i just read your response to someone regarding Red Tip shrubs. You just saved me thousands of dollars ! I was getting ready to order over 250 of these to line my 2.5 acre fence line. What shrub would ...
view the full question and answer

Watering for Scarlett Milkweed in Florida
October 18, 2008 - I have a Scarlett Milkweed and it was doing very well until this last week. It now has yellow leaves that are falling off and no flowers. It says on the tag that the water is low once it is establishe...
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