En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - March 03, 2014

From: Grand Prairie, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Planting, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Sheet mulching before planting Habiturf from Grand Prairie, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Have you tried sheet mulching as a bed prep and to kill bermuda grass before planting habituff?

ANSWER:

First of all, we were a little concerned whether Habiturf would be viable in North Central Texas; i.e., Tarrant, Dallas and Ellis Counties, where Grand Prairie is located. We found a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer that cited the planting of Habiturf at the George W. Bush Presidential Library at SMU, which is in Dallas County, so we are reassured.

From another previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

"Since Habiturf was developed right here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (home of Mr. Smarty Plants) we certainly recommend Habiturf, and have extensive material on it to answer your questions. Please follow this link: Habiturf The Ecological Lawn and any other links in that answer. Be sure and pay attention to the information on preparing the site for your Habiturf, as that will involve removing unwanted plants and improving the soil quality. We hope you will be very happy with this water-conserving grass."

We recommend you read all the material in the links above, particularly noting the part about developing the soil.

'Soil.
A well-textured, well-drained soil is essential for long-term lawn success. Normally, after construction, developers spread a couple of inches of imported soil over soil compacted by heavy construction machinery. A sustainable lawn needs deep roots, so rip, rotovate or disk your soil to at least 8 inches - the deeper the better. Then incorporate a ½ inch layer of living compost with a low nitrogen and low phosphorus content into the top 3 inches of your prepared soil. Ask your local plant nursery for recommendations. DO NOT use tree bark, wood shavings or mulch. Grass won't grow in this. The soil surface should be finished to a fine granular texture and free from large stones. Note: If you are on undisturbed, uncompacted native soils then till lightly and add ¼ inch compost into the top 1 inch or alternatively add a compost tea."

In reference to your request about smothering bermudagrass, which is considered one of the most invasive weeds in the South, another quotation from the Section on Prepariing the Site for Habiturf:

"Warning.
* If you do not prepare the soil adequately, your lawn will suffer and you will get weeds
* If you mow too often and too short, you will get weeds
* If you over-water, you will get weeds
* If you over-fertilize, you will get big weeds"

And, finally, on getting rid of bermudagrass before you plant Habiturf, see this article on barmudagrass from the University of California Integrated Pest Management program on bermudagrass.

As you can see, getting rid of weeds and bermudagrass is not easy, as we are sure you already know, and mulch would probably not retard it but would almost certainly retard the Habiturf.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
December 31, 2011 - I did not trim back my pineapple sage in the fall. It is now winter and the plants are bare sticks. Should I cut them back or leave them alone?
view the full question and answer

Will Mountain Laurels be harmed by juglones from my pecan tree?
May 06, 2009 - Hi. I just bought a house. It has a big pecan tree at the edge of the front lawn next to the street. I guess it's about 25 feet from the front of the house. I was thinking of planting mountain la...
view the full question and answer

Controlling pumpkin vine in British Columbia
July 15, 2008 - I have never grown pumpkins before but decided to try one plant this year. It seems to be taking over my small garden space. Can I prune it back? I only want one or two pumpkins for my grandchildre...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Jacaranda interfering with concrete wall from Los Angeles
August 17, 2011 - We have been replanting the area surrounding our 2 story apt bldg and on one area, there is Jacaranda that started growing in an enclosed cement block wall area. The cemented walled in area which is ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native Weeping Japanese Red Maple
October 04, 2008 - have a Weeping Japanese Red Maple. We bought if from a good nursery in the spring and planted it but now it is not red anymore. It is just greenish. Can you advise me what it is needing or any thing ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center