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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 19, 2014

From: Walburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Soils, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: How does Habiturf spread from Walburg TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How does HabitTurf spread? - by seed only? - when/how often must you let it go to seed to insure a permanent stand?

ANSWER:

We always begin by making sure the plant we are being asked about will grow successfully in the area from which the question comes; in your case, Williamson Co., TX. Since Habiturf is a mixture of grasses native to Texas and developed at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, we can assure you that Williamson County is a place where you should be able to grow Habiturf successfully IF (there is always an if, isn't there) you have the proper conditions, including 5 hours or more of sunlight and properly prepared soil.

Since we don't know if you have already read our research information on this grass, we are going to link you to it, and ask that you read it all, comparing the actual conditions you have with those conditions favorable to the growth of Habiturf. Then, we will try to answer your question by quoting, and thus emphasizing, the material germane to your request. An article on how to prepare install and maintain this native lawn can be found here.

Although the ordinary mode of propagation of this grass is by sowing seed, here is some information on sod for Habiturf from a previous Mr. Smarty Plants question:

"For others who maybe missed this Central Texas Gardener broadcast, here is a link to it. On that broadcast, Mark Simmons mentioned turf being developed by DK Seeds. The  company is Douglas King Seeds - that is a link to their website. Since you are in Uvalde County, virtually next door to Bexar County, where Douglas King  Seeds is located, it should be relatively easy for you to get what you need."

Obviously, you are not close to Bexar County, we just wanted you to know there are alternatives to seed. Whether you plan to employ seed or sod, be sure to pay close attention to preparing the soil before you do either. Here is another extracted piece of information from our articles on the grass:

"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."

Now we are ready to talk about seeding, again from our research:

"Sow.
Sow the seed — the small, hand-cranked seed broadcasters are great or by hand — and rake and press with a garden roller or your feet. Seeds need good soil contact. Spring is the best sowing time once soil temperatures warm up (day time temperatures constantly above 85F). Later in the growing season also works well but will require more water. Avoid sowing in late fall and winter (October through mid-March)."

And, finally, how often to allow the grass to seed out:

"Mowing.
We suggest a 3 to 4 inch cut for a great-looking, dense turf, resistant to weeds and light to moderate foot traffic. However, a 6- inch cut will produce a beautiful deeper lawn with a few seed heads if watered. Mow once every 3 to 5 weeks when growing and not at all when drought or cold dormant. Mowing shorter —2 inches or less— will damage your lawn's health. Conversely, not mowing at all through the growing season will produce a longer turf (8 inches or so high) with a lower density. This may be acceptable depending on how you use your lawn. However, allowing the grass to seed-out once a year, perhaps when you go on vacation, guarantees a good seed bank - insurance against drought, heavy foot traffic and weeds. It also provides high habitat value."

Best of luck with your new lawn!

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses for hill in Saint Mary's County, Maryland
September 18, 2010 - Is there a native grass or grasses I can mow on a hill that faces south and is too large to water in Saint Marys County, Maryland?
view the full question and answer

What is pulling Indian Grass out of a park in Washington DC?
June 29, 2011 - We are renovating a park in Washington, DC on the waterfront. We have planted Sorghastrum Nutans (Indian Grass). During the evening/overnight something is pulling the plants from the ground. It is onl...
view the full question and answer

Will not cutting grass make its roots stronger?
May 27, 2009 - I live on a lake that has a hill. There is some problem with erosion on the hillside. Our association wants us to not cut the grass to stop the erosion. How does not cutting the grass help the roots g...
view the full question and answer

Turf grasses and alternatives for NH
October 23, 2010 - I live in Hancock, NH, just north of Peterborough. We just bought a relatively new house that pretty-much has no lawn and minimal landscaping. Can you (or anyone) suggest native lawn grass alternati...
view the full question and answer

Source for Saltmarsh cordgrass from Houston
April 16, 2013 - I work for a consulting firm and we are looking to do more of our wetland creation/restoration. Do you know where one can purchased Spartina alterniflora?
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