Our Buffalograss and Blue
Grama mix behaves very nicely in a suburban setting,
staying well under six inches high without mowing
in most locations. The Blue Grama puts out these
beautiful little "flag-like"
Download our How to Grow Native Seeds spread from our catalog (click here). Planting
methods for native grasses are similar to those for wildflowers.
Some differences are:
Seeds germinate when soil temperatures are above 65
degrees F. Sow the grass seed in early spring through
late summer, earlier is better. Harmonize with seasonal
rains. If you want to get a head start on preparation,
consider planting a cover crop in the fall. (See below
for more details.)
Lawn areas should start with a weed-free, smoothly raked
seedbed. Reduce invasive perennial weeds such as Bermuda
and Johnson grass prior to planting native grass. If
you choose to use chemical weed killers, get advice
from your county extension agent. Till the soil and
remove the roots of existing non-native grasses and
weeds if possible. But be careful - tilling too deeply
can stir up dormant weed seeds, and create extra work
for you in maintenance until the grass is so thickly
established that it can begin to successfully keep out
the unwanted visitors.
larger areas, plow several times before seeding to expose,
freeze or dry unwanted roots.
Solarization to Eliminate Existing Unwanted Vegetation
As an alternative to tilling lawn-sized areas, you can
use an approach known as "solarization." This
works best during the growing season, either in the
late summer months or early spring when you expect a
string of sunny days. It involves covering the area
to be re-seeded with clear plastic (6mil thickness is
best, though 4mil will probably do for smaller areas)
and letting the sun and natural processes of nature
do the work for you.
shallow trench around the site perimeter, approximately
4-6 inches deep. Water the site thoroughly and deeply
first. Then fit the sheets of clear plastic over the site
and tuck the edges of the plastic down into the trench.
Refill the trench to make the edges of the plastic secure.
On larger areas it may be necessary to use several sheets
of plastic and secure the overlaps with rocks or some
other weight to hold them in place. You want to make it
as "airtight" as possible and secure it firmly
enough so that it won't get blown loose by the wind.
have now created a well-watered greenhouse, so that
when the sun penetrates the plastic it will warm the
soil and provoke more growth, including increased activity
of natural soil molds and bacteria. When the unwanted
vegetation is trapped under the plastic in these intense
growth conditions and has nowhere to go, it essentially
becomes compost. The whole process takes about 3-4 weeks
when nature cooperates by providing enough sunny days.
the process is complete, you can rake off the debris
and compost it further. If there is not too much debris,
it can be tilled into the soil as part of your seedbed
Most native grass seeds prefer 1/4" planting depths.
Spread the seeds evenly across the area, and rake lightly
to cover them. Firm the seedbed by rolling or packing
Water the newly planted seeds lightly and frequently to
prevent the top of the soil from drying out. When the
grass is about an inch tall, decrease the frequency and
increase the depth of watering. You can stop adding water
once the grass is established. Larger areas will establish
without irrigation, but obviously it helps if the planting
is well timed with seasonal rains.
Cover Crop in the
If you're ready to take action in the fall, plant a
cover crop of cereal rye grain. This is entirely different
than rye grass. Old-time farmers used to cover crop
their land before chemical fertilizers came along. By
planting an economical, non-invasive crop, they could
then plow it under to feed the soil. It's an efficient
form of composting. Cereal
rye provides lush green cover through winter and
builds organic matter in the soil. This cover crop fills
the niche when fall planting is needed for temporary
grass or erosion control.