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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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!

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Wednesday - August 17, 2011

From: Allen, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Meadow Gardens, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Non-native bermudagrass in meadow in Allen TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What is the effect of not killing or removing bermuda grass when converting an area to a prairie meadow in Allen, Texas? Most articles describing how to create and establish a prairie meadow suggest killing or removing all weeds and existing plants. We (an HOA) want to convert several of our community grassy areas into a prairie meadow with native wildflowers and native grasses simply by mowing the bermuda very short and then sowing the area with seeds. While this is perhaps not the best implementaion method, will it work? What will be the effect over one, two, three years? Are you completely opposed to this method?

ANSWER:

Read our How-To Articles on Meadow Gardening and on Recreating a Prairie Meadow. Both of these articles point out that leaving existing invasive or non-native grasses in the area will negatively impact the progress in the meadow. See this University of California at Davis Integrated Pest Management article on Bermudagrass. It is considered one of the most invasive weeds in the south, and since it propagates itself largely by underground rhizomes, mowing it close will have little effect on its continued activity. Another How-To Article, this one on Native Lawns: Multi-Species, will give you more information on mowing and just "sowing the area with seeds," which probably won't work.

There is no reason why we would be opposed to anyone's gardening plans, but we do think you should be warned that bermudagrass is not that easy to get rid of.

 

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