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

Friday - April 02, 2010

From: Corpus Christi, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native grasses for South Texas Coast
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Grasses S. Texas Coast. Hello! I love all of the information available in your database Mr. Smarty Plants database (as well as the rest of the site) and find it quite useful on many fronts. My question has been addressed before but I didn't like the answer and I wanted to see what the next best options are.. I'm on a construction site that calls for the ground to be reseeded with bermuda and rye grasses, but from what I can tell neither of those are native/adapted for the Texas coast. Can I use one of the seed mixes from Native American Seed and it still work well and "unattended" after establishment on the coast? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Thank you for the kind words!  Mr. Smarty Plants applauds your intention to use native grasses instead of the non-native Cynodon dactylon (bermudagrass) and Lolium sp. (ryegrass).  Native American Seed's Coastal Prairie Mix sounds perfect for your purpose.  Not only does it have beautiful native grasses [e.g., Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)] but the seeds were collected from the coastal prairie area from varieties well-adapted to the soils, the humidity and general climate of the area.  Additionally, there are forbs/wildflowers included in the mix [e.g., Chamaecrista fasciculata (partridge pea), Croton monanthogynus (prairie tea)].  You should realize that  several of the grasses—e.g., Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)—are tall (6 to 8 feet) so your area is not going to look like an area planted in bermudagrass and ryegrass.  The tall grasses are beautiful to see, however, especially mixed with the other grasses and forbs/wildflowers and you will be helping to re-establish coastal prairie habitat for birds and other wildlife. Your question is very timely, by the way,  because now is the time to sow the seeds—in time for the spring rains.

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Stabilizing a sand bank in VT
August 13, 2011 - We have a summer cottage in Burlington, Vt. and need to stabilize a mound of sand. The "bank" we are trying to stabilize has partial sun and faces south. It measures approx 4' high and is 30' long...
view the full question and answer

Grass for Charleston SC
August 13, 2010 - Hey Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Charleston, SC and am having trouble with my grass. What is the best wear resistant grass to plant in my area and when is the best time to plant it?
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for shady yard in Austin
September 04, 2011 - I was looking at your research on native grasses to be used in a yard. I want to plant your native mix of seeds, but worry that there is too much shade in my yard. I live in central Austin and wante...
view the full question and answer

Competition between peony and bulbs
November 06, 2015 - I am planting 3 herbaceous peony bare roots 3 feet apart from each other. I am told it will take 3 years before I get blooms. In the meantime, can i safely plant springtime flowering bulbs in th...
view the full question and answer

Looking for a tall ornamental grass native to Massachusetts.
July 23, 2009 - I am looking for a tall (4-8 ft) ornamental grass, native to Massachusetts/ New England. It needs to be tolerant of moist to wet soil, and preferably colorful. Thanks for your help.
view the full question and answer

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