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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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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!

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Monday - July 11, 2016

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Turf
Title: New Lawn for a New House in Central Texas
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We have a new house with a barren yard. How soon can we successfully plant grass?

ANSWER:

Nan Hampton has answered a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question on selecting grass seed for Central Texas. If you are considering seeding, here's her question and response ... What is the best drought tolerant grass for Central Texas that can be used as a low height lawn? I remember seeing a news account (Austin TV) about some UT research at the Wildflower Center that developed a new heat/drought tolerant grass mix.

Answer: You are, indeed, right that the Wildflower Center is doing ongoing research on native lawns.  You can read about it in our article, Native Lawns and you can see the research plots if you visit the Wildflower Center.  One of our Associates Suppliers, Native American Seed in Junction, has a 2:1 mix of Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) to Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) called Native Sun Turfgrass.  They also have the other major short turf grass used in the research, Hilaria belangeri (curly mesquite).  

We have a "How to Article" that you probably will want to read: 

2.  Native Lawns: Buffalograss gives recommendations and tips for establishing a native lawn with only buffalograss.

Additionally, there is a lot of information about using ecological native species for drought conditions, called Habitaturf on the www.wildflower.org website. Spring is the best sowing time once soil temperatures warm up (day time temperatures constantly above 85°F).

If you would like to use non-native sod for your new lawn, Texas A&M has a turfgrass information sheet for Texas that will help with the selection.

 

 

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