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
2 ratings

Saturday - May 22, 2010

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Non-invasive, drought tolerant turf grass for Brownsville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

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)

ANSWER:

From this University of California Integrated Pest Management Program site on Cynadon dactylon, bermudagrass, you will learn why this non-native, invasive grass is a bad idea for turf grasses.

On the other hand, using the native grasses of a growth habit to lend themselves to a mowed lawn requires sunlight, 6 or more hours a day of it. There are native grasses that will do that, but if you don't have that much sun for your lawn, you may have to go to alternate plans, like ground covers or mulch in the shady areas.

Please read these two How-To Articles: Native Lawns: Buffalograss and Native Lawns:Multi-Species. Then, from our Conservation section, read this article on Native Lawns. There is some repetition among these three articles but they represent the advance in research on lawns for Texas. The three grasses mentioned as useful as a mix, Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama), and Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite), are all native in or near to Cameron County at the southernmost tip of Texas. Native American Seed now has available what they call a native shortgrass kit Thunder Turf.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Bouteloua dactyloides

Bouteloua gracilis

Hilaria belangeri

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Retention ponds for states in southeast, from Greenville SC
July 14, 2012 - We provide maintenance for Stormwater detention ponds and are looking for native grasses to plant in the bottom and sides of typically dry detention basins. Prefer low growing grasses that spread to...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping large area in Webster KY
February 10, 2012 - We just bought a house that we fell in love with. The land around it . . . well it has GREAT potential but is seriously lacking at the moment. Trying to get the farm up and running leaves very litt...
view the full question and answer

Indiangrass by seed or plugs in Greenville SC
October 18, 2009 - Mr Smarty Plants, is it better to establish Indiangrass by plugs or seed? Seems you would get much quicker coverage by seed, tending to choke out "strangers". I'm establishing a small native mea...
view the full question and answer

Curvularia blight in buffalograss in Kansas
March 05, 2009 - Our buffalo grass is infected with a fungus called curvularia. How can we treat it?
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for Road Frontage in NC
March 12, 2015 - I need a fast growing ground cover or perennial flower for 1,000 feet of road frontage about one acre that will choke out weeds. I do not want to do much ground prep or any ground prep. I do not want...
view the full question and answer

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