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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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Thursday - March 07, 2013

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not physically capable of pulling the endless supply I have. How do I get it looking good and weedless? Do I need to replace it and if so, with what?

ANSWER:

First, let us refer you to a recent Mr. Smarty Plants question on a very similar subject for a very similar reason.

Now, from our How-To Articles, read this article on Native Lawns: Buffalograss. We note you are in Central Texas in an area which should be hospitable to buffalograss, so we suggest you read that how-to article and compare what you are doing and have been doing that may not match what the article recommends.

The first thing we noticed in that article is the information that Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)  is not tolerant of shade. We consider "sun" plants to require 6 hours or more a day of sunlight. If you have trees or structures that are shading your lawn, that could certainly explain the thinness of the grass.

Although as you will note from the first picture below, buffalograss sometimes coexists with flowering "weeds," that is, native wildflowers. Mowing these before they have the opportunity to set seeds will cut down on the annual intruders, but the wildflowers can add color and softness to your garden.

Or you can get really serious about getting rid of lawns and see our previous Mr. Smarty Plants article on xeriscaping.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

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