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

Thursday - July 27, 2006

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Control of grasses in wildflower gardening
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

We have been trying to manage and grow a plot of wildflowers in Madisonville, Texas just east of Bryan / College Station on a charity organizations site for 3 years with some success. The grasses have been difficult to control and we are embarking on a spraying campaign this season. What is the best times of year to do this for best control of the various strains of grasses?

ANSWER:

You don't say whether the grasses are native or non-native. We recommend you read the article, "Wildflower Meadow Gardening", in our Native Plant Library. This article recommends that a wildflower meadow have from 50 to 80% native grasses. The grasses provide support and protection for the wildflowers, prevent soil erosion, and occupy spaces that would otherwise be filled by weeds. If your meadow is full of bermuda, St. Augustine, annual rye, or other non-native species, you do need to try to get rid of those. If you have native grasses such as Bluestems (Andropogon spp.) or Gramas (Bouteloua spp.), you probably can control them by mowing. You can mow after the all annual and biennial wildflower species have flowered and set seed. This will insure that the seeds are sown for next spring's wildflower blooms.

With many different types of herbicide on the market, it is not possible to give you a blanket answer for when to use them. The answer really depends on the species of grass you want to control and the herbicide you intend to use. The labels of all herbicides give very specific instructions on timing and application of the chemical you intend to use. Finally, while the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center does not take a specific stand on the use of chemicals in the landscape other than to urge our patrons to carefully follow label directions if they choose to use them, we do not make recommendations for the use of specific chemicals, either.

 

More Wildflowers Questions

Wildflowers for West Texas Permian Basin area
March 19, 2007 - What wild flowers grow out here in West Texas (Permian Basin Area)? I know a lot of the wild flowers from other parts of the state will not grow out here in the dry heat and poor soil. Thanks for you...
view the full question and answer

Low Ground Cover for Steep, Shaded PA Site
February 17, 2014 - I am located in Downingtown, PA, right on the border between Zone 6 and 7. Please provide a recommendation of a native ground cover for the following conditions: steep slope (greater than 45%), full s...
view the full question and answer

Native flowers for color year round
May 02, 2007 - I have the opportunity to recommend plants for a religious organization. They want YEAR ROUND color in some areas, much like how commercial sites use annual color. I would like to suggest native/ada...
view the full question and answer

Mosquito-deterring plants for shady hillside
July 05, 2011 - We have a part to full shaded hill side/ native woodland area that was once covered with english ivy..we managed to get rid of all the ivy but now we are overtaken with violets..maybe they are even na...
view the full question and answer

Wildflower seeds that do well in black clay soil from Plano TX
November 21, 2013 - What native wildflower seeds do best in black clay soil? We live in Plano along creek w/ 8,000 sq. ft. in full sun. No manmade water source. Suggestions?
view the full question and answer

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