En Español

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

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 Planting Questions

Buffaloberry from Grandma
June 25, 2008 - I have a "BUFFALO BERRY" that my Grandma brought back from South Dakota.It is approx.8yrs.old.All was well until this spring.It was budding out when we had a very hard freeze and got 3" of snow.Now...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Live Oaks in Mesa AZ
March 26, 2013 - I have two Evergreen Live Oaks in central Arizona. One is flourishing and getting new spring leaves from top to bottom. Its trunk is rough, has large grooves, and the spots where I've pruned look li...
view the full question and answer

Transplant shock in non-native crape myrtle from Wesley Chapel, FL
June 12, 2012 - I just bought a 12 ft. crape myrtle and planted it, giving it plenty of water I think. After 3 days the leaves are wilting and flowers are falling off.
view the full question and answer

Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI
April 20, 2012 - I have a red horse chestnut that is maybe 12 inches around, can I move it after the sap goes down about 10 miles to our new place? Sadly, I cannot afford to hire a tree truck. What are its chances?
view the full question and answer

Steep slope from Charlotte NC
May 03, 2012 - I live near Charlotte, NC and I have a very steep sloped area from the edge of our front yard down to the road. It's a huge eyesore mainly because it is red clay dirt and has nothing growing on it. W...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center