Rent Shop 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 - June 03, 2011

From: Winnsboro, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native Grasses for Winnsboro, Texas
Answered by: Stephen Scace and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What would be a good grass to plant in East Texas near Winnsboro? My soil is sandy.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants loves short questions, as they tempt him to indulge his expansive conceptualization of native plants. He will, however, try to restrain himself by means of some carefully crafted interpretations. He considers "good grass" in this instance to mean "native species" and further, infers an open-minded willingness to consider taller species and not just the turf grasses. This tolerance of mind is important, because the leading native Texas turf-grass species, Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), lacks tolerance for sandy soils. Nevertheless, the other two species in our native turfgrass mix, Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri var. belangeri (Curly-mesquite), will grow in sandy soils but may not form as thick a turf as the Buffalograss mix.

Winnsboro lies at the north end of the Post Oak Savannah, part of the great North American tall-grass prairie, whose dominant species include Andropogon gerardii (Big bluestem)Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass)Panicum virgatum (Switchgrass) and Schizachyrium scoparium (Little bluestem)–lovely grasses all. They are also tall. Indeed, all but the Little bluestem grow three to six feet tall. If such a prairie's historical richness and ecological appropriateness fails to ignite your passion sufficiently to put up with what admittedly may resemble a jungle, Mr. Smarty Plants understands.

More moderately sized grasses native to the prairie include Bouteloua curtipendula (Sideoats grama)–the state grass of Texas–and Poa arachnifera (Texas bluegrass). You can find more grasses for your area of North Central Texas in the Post Oak Savannah list on our Recommended Species page.  Use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH feature in the sidebar to limit the list to grasses by choosing "Grass/grass-like" from the GENERAL APPEARANCE option.

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native water plants for bio-retention pond in North Carolina
July 22, 2009 - I am looking for North Carolina native plants that can take part shade and very wet conditions (bioretention pond environment). Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Restoring a prairie from Austin
January 11, 2013 - Restoring a mixed grass Blackland Prairie? Prairie Plant Succession? We are trying to establish climax species when an area is in a pioneering phase. Does the soil chemistry or biota change during ...
view the full question and answer

Soil Loosener/Pollinator Plants for Houston
August 11, 2014 - I am trying to establish a mostly-native pollinator way-station in a recently purchased lot in a 100 year old neighborhood in Houston. Much of the property has a thick layer of oyster shell four to si...
view the full question and answer

Quick and EZ way to cover bare spots in lawn with grass
March 09, 2015 - We recently had to dig up our lawn to have a pipe replaced. We now have a long strip of our yard that is either dug up or covered by some of the dirt that is dug up. We want to fill in the grass. W...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping recommendations for site in Dubuque, IA
March 27, 2010 - I need a seed recommendation. Here are the variables: Location: Dubuque, IA (east Central Iowa) Soil type: Sandy to sandy and gravelly. Part is a riverbank facing east. Steep bank then flat to ...
view the full question and answer

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