En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 08, 2013

From: Ada, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Will buffalograss thrive in Ada OK?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Would buffalo grass thrive in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, where my sandy loamie soil struggles with summer droughts?

ANSWER:

According to this USDA Plant Profile Map, Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss) grows natively in Pontotoc County, OK,. which is a good sign if you are considering planting it there. First, we suggest you read our How-To Article on Native Lawns: Buffalograss. Follow the plant link above to our webpage on Buffalograss. Here are its growing conditions;

"Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Well-drained loam, clay, caliche, or limestone. Does not like sand.
Conditions Comments: Requires only one and a half inches of rain per month to stay green. Will go dormant during droughts and in winter."

Unfortunately, this specifically states that it does not like sand. It seems strange that the grass is native to your county but you soil does not match the preferences of the grass. There can be many different kinds of soils in a county or a state or a square block. We suggest you contact the Oklahoma State University Extension Office for Pontotoc County and ask about soil testing.

In the How-To Article to which we referred you, here is information on preparing the bed for the seeds:

"Bed preparation for buffalograss seed and sod differs little from preparation for other lawn grasses. Till the soil no deeper than two inches; rake level, and roll the soil lightly to make the bed firm. Remove all existing weeds. Because tilling often stimulates weed germination, it is advisable to water the bed one to two weeks before planting."

If you could till some other amendment, like compost, into that soil, it could help a great deal with the sandy soil. While the growing conditions say it likes a well-drained soil, the problem with sandy soil is that it drains TOO well. That sand may have been an application of so-called "topsoil" trucked in when the property was being developed and used for leveling. Your County Extension Office should be able to help you with that. In fact, when you take a soil sample, you should be digging down more than the 2 inches specified for tilling and could very well find you have some clay, caliche or limestone in there.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Need Native Cover Crop in Seguin, TX
October 11, 2010 - Is there a native winter cover crop that would control erosion until spring vegetation takes over?
view the full question and answer

Grasses for creek area near Abilene, Texas
April 04, 2009 - I have constructed several low water crossings on a live creek in the Abilene,Texas area and need to find out the best grass to plant to hold secure the soil and keep down erosion. The creek does runs...
view the full question and answer

Native, full-sun, 4-in. evergreen grasses for Leander TX
November 07, 2011 - Help! I need a native Texas evergreen sedge/grass/ground cover for full-sun/hot/dry area between sidewalk and street. The plants will need to be kept about 4" high, if growth is higher it must be mow...
view the full question and answer

Trimming inland sea oats from Waco TX
January 30, 2013 - Re: Inland Sea Oats and trimming back in early spring "It passes through most of winter a soft brown, but becomes tattered and gray by February, a good time to cut it back to the basal rosette." ...
view the full question and answer

Will Habiturf be chicken feed from New Caney TX
November 21, 2013 - How well does your recommended native turf grass mix hold up against chickens or do double duty as feed? I have a mixed use property that will house Rabbits, Poultry (chickens/duck/geese), and ev...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center