Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Friday - August 31, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Shorter drought-tolerant grasses
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We live on 1 1/2 acres near Dripping Springs. We have a variety of grasses, mostly tall, on the back and side of the property. Is there some type of drought tolerant shorter grass or wildflowers or groundcover that we could plant to compete with these taller grasses? Mowing and weedeating this area is very difficult because there is a tall slope going down to the road. Thank you for your advice.

ANSWER:

You don't say what your taller grasses are, but here are a few that are relatively short and that Mr. Smarty Plants thinks are very attractive: Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama), Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) and Bouteloua rigidiseta (Texas grama). However, chances are your taller grasses are the natives, Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem) and Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem) which are enjoying prolific growth this year due to the abundance of rain, or the non-native invasive, K.R. bluestem. In most years - with closer to normal rainfall - your grasses will not grow as tall as they have this year.
 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Plants wilting too quickly in Toledo OH
May 27, 2012 - The garden I have had recent issues with plants wilting all too quickly. I would like to know what types of plants would be hearty for the climate in Toledo, Ohio. I have a partly sunny front yard and...
view the full question and answer

Winter expectations for Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides)
October 08, 2007 - I planted some buffalo grass (from seed) in April of this year. Iíve got a nice patch now, though itís starting to brown up some. Iím wondering what to expect from this patch over the winter- will i...
view the full question and answer

Non-native zoysia and bermuda grasses in Austin
July 11, 2013 - We have Bermuda grass in the front and Zoysia in the back yards. The back grass is fine but the front yard Bermuda isn't. We have watered once each week during the spring and during the past 3 weeks...
view the full question and answer

Speed of bluestem grass spreading in Georgia red clay from Dallas GA
May 13, 2012 - How fast does bluestem spread in Georgia red clay?
view the full question and answer

Habiturf lawn for townhouse in Austin
October 06, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in central Austin and on November 1st I will be moving into a townhome with a small yard of around 500 square feet. The yard has been neglected and currently looks to ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.