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
5 ratings

Sunday - July 24, 2005

From: Milan-Italy, Other
Region: Other
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Alkalinity-tolerant grasses
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus/Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

Dear Sirs - Are you aware of any grass species that could survive in strongly alkaline soils (ph from 10 up to 12) Thanks a lot.

ANSWER:

Our focus and expertise is on plants native to North America and we know of no North American grasses that will grow on such extremely alkaline soils.

We did find a couple of grasses, one from Australia and one from New Zealand, that tolerate alkaline soils. Vetiver zizanioides, used in Australia for mine rehabilitation, is reported to be highly tolerant of extreme soil conditions including heavy metals and pH levels from 3.0 to 10.5. You can read more about this grass on the Vetiver Network webpage. Another grass reported to grow on strongly alkaline soils is Australopyrum calcis, a grass endemic to New Zealand.

With such extreme pH readings it sounds as if you might dealing with mine tailings or some other toxic waste site. If so, we can direct you to several sources that address this issue:

U. S. Army Corps of Engineers Phytoremediation Research

U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Federal Remediation Technologies (FRTR): Phytoremediation

EPA and RTDF (Remediation Technologies Development Forum) Phytoremediation Bibliography

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Looking for grasses for slope around retention pond in Florida
August 02, 2011 - I live in St. Petersburg, FL on a large retention pond. Most of my neighbors on the pond have seawalls. I do not nor do my neighbors to my left and right. I am interested in colorful grasses to put...
view the full question and answer

Grass for a Miniature Garden
July 18, 2013 - Please let me know what kind of grass is nice and short and tight for a miniature garden in a wooden box. I want to grow this grass in the box and I also want to know if I need to drill holes in the b...
view the full question and answer

Viability of buffalo grass in Yuma, AZ
March 30, 2008 - Will Buffalo Grass grow in Yuma, AZ, where the temperature can go as high as 120 degrees in the summer?
view the full question and answer

Short to Medium Height Grasses for Iowa
January 20, 2011 - What short to medium height native grass can be planted in late fall at the same time I sow my wildflower seed?
view the full question and answer

Annual ryegrass and Habiturf from Austin
October 31, 2013 - We've decided to put Habiturf in our freshly cleared back yard that was overgrown with sticky burs and crabgrass, but now that it is fall, would you recommend putting in a cover crop of annual ryegra...
view the full question and answer

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