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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - March 07, 2013

From: Dripping Springs, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pests, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not physically capable of pulling the endless supply I have. How do I get it looking good and weedless? Do I need to replace it and if so, with what?

ANSWER:

First, let us refer you to a recent Mr. Smarty Plants question on a very similar subject for a very similar reason.

Now, from our How-To Articles, read this article on Native Lawns: Buffalograss. We note you are in Central Texas in an area which should be hospitable to buffalograss, so we suggest you read that how-to article and compare what you are doing and have been doing that may not match what the article recommends.

The first thing we noticed in that article is the information that Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)  is not tolerant of shade. We consider "sun" plants to require 6 hours or more a day of sunlight. If you have trees or structures that are shading your lawn, that could certainly explain the thinness of the grass.

Although as you will note from the first picture below, buffalograss sometimes coexists with flowering "weeds," that is, native wildflowers. Mowing these before they have the opportunity to set seeds will cut down on the annual intruders, but the wildflowers can add color and softness to your garden.

Or you can get really serious about getting rid of lawns and see our previous Mr. Smarty Plants article on xeriscaping.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

More Pests Questions

Fungus gnats on house plant in Edwardsville IL
July 16, 2009 - I recently purchased a Trailing Perennial Plant, and I am seeing a lot of gnats flying in my house. Could this be the problem?
view the full question and answer

Something eating cannas in Austin
July 14, 2012 - What is eating my cannas?
view the full question and answer

What clips green twigs from cedar elms?
August 09, 2013 - Many small cuttings (3-5 inches long) are dropping from large cedar elm. To my eye the ends look like breaks (not chiseled), but I can't imagine what would cause so many breaks, and so think somethin...
view the full question and answer

Why is my recently planted Esperanza doing poorly in Texas City, TX?
May 28, 2010 - I have an Esperanza I planted about 2 months ago. It has been doing well, except today all but one stem of the plant is wilting and the leaves are rolling. I see no bugs on the plant. Any idea what...
view the full question and answer

What is hollowing out my rosebuds in Austin, TX?
April 28, 2012 - I recently noticed some of my rose buds had been hollowed out from the inside. I have seen no evidence of insect though. What do you think it is and how can I treat the problem?
view the full question and answer

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