Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Saturday - June 07, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Pests, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Cause of yellowing buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are getting large yellow areas in our buffalo grass lawn and think this is probably due to grub worms. Are grub worms the likely culprit and if so, what is the best way to get rid of them? We don't want to use chemicals but also don't want to lose the buffalo grass. Thanks!

ANSWER:

The City of Austin has an excellent "Earth-wise Guide to Lawn Problems" that presents several common lawn problems with descriptions, photographs, tests for causes, and solutions. You can test your buffalo grass lawn to determine if it is being affected by grubs. The recommended treatment (non-chemical) is the application of beneficial nematodes (Steinernema carpocapsae) that will attack and kill the grubs.

There is another possibility for yellowing buffalograss, according to an article (Buffalograss Lawns, by A. J. Koski from Colorado State University):

"Buffalograss is sometimes prone to iron chlorosis (yellowing) on high pH soils; supplemental applications of iron chelate (Fe EDDHA, sequestrene iron) will help to cure or prevent this problem."

The "Earth-wise Guide to Lawn Problems" lists this as a problem affecting St. Augustine and suggests preventive treatment (e.g., top dressing with 1/4-1/3" compost, not using fertilizers high in phosphorus, and aerating the lawn once a year). The Guide also suggests iron supplements for temporary relief.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Non-invasive, drought tolerant turf grass for Brownsville TX
May 22, 2010 - Since Bermudagrass is considered "invasive" by many in the industry, what drought tolerant, non-invasive turf grass would you recommend for South Texas lawns? (Brownsville area)
view the full question and answer

Removing Purple Top Tridens out of Mt Pleasant Texas
April 07, 2011 - We would like to know how to kill these Purple Top Triden out of our garden. Thanks, Judy
view the full question and answer

Native grass mix suitable for Houston
December 10, 2009 - Do you have a native grass mix that is appropriate to the Houston area- or will the one you have developed to this point work as well here as it does in Central Texas? If not, when will you begin to ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for a garden in Panama City, FL
May 10, 2013 - I live in zone 9 in Florida. We are looking for plants which will be attractive all year long for the front of our house's landscaping which faces north. I need a specimen bush which doesn't get ov...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow Fence Line in TN
February 03, 2015 - I have a very specific and difficult planting question. I have a narrow strip (about 2 feet at the widest) between my back privacy fence and a wire fence that marks the edge of my property. It is dire...
view the full question and answer

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