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

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

More Pests Questions

Controlling sandburs from Austin
February 24, 2013 - Hello, What is the best way to prevent sticker burrs from growing in a rocky bed with no grass. There are many other plants we want to preserve and a drip line to keep them watered. We have 2 small k...
view the full question and answer

Protection of Mountain Laurel from Pyralid or Genista moth caterpillars
May 28, 2006 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel. Every year it is attacked by caterpillars. They form a bag for lack of a better word on the ends of the branches destroying the blooms for the following year. PLEASE...
view the full question and answer

Treating cuts in tree trunks
November 21, 2009 - We have two young trees that deer made bad cuts in the trunks. What can we put on cuts to keep bugs and disease from getting in them.? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Problem with leaf cutting bees in Houston, TX
December 08, 2014 - I have four Arapaho crepe myrtle trees in my backyard and two have leaves, especially the young leaves, being eaten by something. I do not see ants of beetles on the leaves and have not seen any bees ...
view the full question and answer

Caterpillars ate my Sophora in La Mesa, CA.
July 06, 2011 - Before I noticed what was happening, my newly-planted 1 foot tall Sophora secundiflora was eaten by caterpillars. It now has no foliage. Do you think it will leaf out again?
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