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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.

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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 - June 27, 2013

From: Possum Kingdom lake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Use of Turffalo in Possum Kingdom TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, we will be building a retirement home in the hillside area of Possum Kingdom Lake which currently has cactus, cedar, and some live oaks. Our intention is to keep most of the 8 acres natural with the hillside areas and have a lawn close to the house for our use and our two dogs. I recently saw an article on a grass called tuffalo. How does this compare to the native grass blends for our area of texas? It appears that we will need to add soil to plant once the house is built. There is what appears to be a sandy soil with lots of limestone rocks and it is almost totally sunny. we love the West Texas look. Is there hope for a dog, drought, low maintenance lawn for us?

ANSWER:

From Texas Tech University, developer of Turffalo, here is an article about this variation of Texas native grass Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), The Buffalo Reconfigured. When we searched our own Mr. Smarty Plants previous answers we found 11 questions and answers on this grass, beginning in 2007, with the most recent one in 2010. We especially noticed that most of the questions came in Spring, which is the appropriate time to plant grasses in Texas. Rather than try to summarize what we have said about this grass, here is a selection of our answers, by date.

March 12, 2007

April 7, 2007

March 5, 2008

March 17, 2008

June 26, 2009

Feb. 11, 2010

Before your question, that was the last time we were asked about it; we do not know the date of the article from Texas Tech. Now that you know all we know about Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), let us introduce you to Habiturf. You will notice in some of the articles referenced above that grasses that were a combination of three native grasses, including Buffalograss, made more sense and worked better as a lawn grass.

Here is some information on the new grass mix:

Habiturf - The Ecological Lawn This includes a video on planting and several more links

Native Lawns

We urge you to read all the material and watch the video. It was made while planting the lawn in the Homeowner's Garden at the Wildflower Center. You are thinking of this at a good time. You don't want to be putting in a lawn in the middle of the summer, and you certainly want all the construction equipment gone before you begin lawn preparations. You noted that you would probably need to put some soil on the area where the grass was to be planted, and there are recommendations for that in the articles, too.

 

 

 

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Should wait to trim Inland Sea Oats until all seeds have been dropped from Austin
March 18, 2011 - Regarding Inland Sea Oats: I trimmed the stalks that have lost all the seeds. Should I trim the rest of the stalks or wait until all seeds have dropped?
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Planting of Habiturf from Smithville TX
March 25, 2012 - Are Habiturf and Thunderturf the same? and, how late in the year can I plant Habiturf?
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Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
May 12, 2010 - I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?
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