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

Tuesday - June 30, 2009

From: Oklahoma City, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Procedure for planting buffalograss
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to get a full schedule of events/actions for planting a lawn with buffalo grass. The area is already a lawn, though mostly weeds. It is June/July. First, cover area to be seeded with black plastic to burn out current plants. (How long to cover? Is now the appropriate time?) Once this is done, seed with buffalo grass seed. How much water and how long to water? Finally, when to cover area with corn gluten fertilizer/herbicide? Sorry for disjointed form of my summary; essentially, I need to know the details of what to do and when to do it to replace old weedy lawn with new buffalo grass seed, and how to best ensure its germination. Thanks for your help.

ANSWER:

As it happens, we have an How-To Article Native Lawns: Buffalograss. Read that and you will know what our experts know about taking out an old lawn and putting in a new native one. One thing we would like to say upfront-don't cover the buffalograss lawn with anything, especially fertilizers or herbicides. One of the main reasons the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center advocates native plants so vigorously is because they are already acclimated to the climate, rainfall and soil of the area where they are being planted, and therefore need less water, less fertilizer (or no fertilizer) and less maintenance. And we don't recommend using herbicide to clear weeds for the new lawn. Since it really is too hot to be planting much in the way of native plants, or anything else for that matter, you might consider this article on Soil Solarization from  Arid-Southwestern Gardening Information.

For more information on putting in a buffalograss lawn. take a look at the Native American Seed Website. Their home page right now is addressing your questions about when and how to plant native grasses. On that page, click on "Shop for Seeds" and in that list, click on "grass mixes." When you get the page of pictures of different grass mixtures, click on Native Sun Turfgrass. This is a mix of 34% Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and 66% Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss). Regardless of where you purchase your seeds, this company has lots of information that can be of use to you. 

One last word before you commit to the grasses you are going to plant: Buffalograss really does require full sun, which we consider 6 or more hours of sun a day. If your area doesn't provide that, consider some other native grasses which can tolerate shade, and don't waste time and money putting in the sun-loving buffalograss. 


Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua gracilis

Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua dactyloides

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Wildflower meadow on former cattle pasture in North Carolina
May 17, 2005 - We have purchased approximately 7 acres of land in North Carolina. A neighbor has been using the land for grazing his cows, but I hope to plant it with wildflowers once we've built a small house. W...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area
July 25, 2013 - Looking for a native turf grass for the Houston area. In some of your 2012 responses, you stated that "The good news is that research into turf-type grasses native to the coastal region is in the pla...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a moist, wooded area in North Carolina
December 06, 2014 - I am looking to plant some native flowers in a wooded area in Surry County NC. The chosen location is fully shaded beside a creek. The water table typically sets about 2 feet below the surface of th...
view the full question and answer

Types of Eragrostis lovegrasses that will survive in Northern Wisconsin
May 21, 2007 - I am interested in plains lovegrass, and know that it primarily grows in southern climates. Do you think it could thrive in northern Wisconsin if it is planted in a protected area? Could it survive ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants both deer resistant and good for erosion from North Oaks MN
August 23, 2012 - We have several partially sunny areas on hills that are prone to both deer and erosion. Our goal is to reduce runoff in an effort to preserve the watershed that provides tap water to many citizens of ...
view the full question and answer

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