En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX

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

Saturday - June 07, 2014

From: Woodbury, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Propagation, Problem Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Drought tolerant grass for small lawn from Woodbury TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Trying to establish small lawn area, needs to be drought tolerant, water wise. Have tried Turffalo with poor results. Recommendation please.

ANSWER:

From 2010, here is a  previous Mr. Plants answer on an assessment of Turffalo. It has links in it to information our newer research grass, which is proving to be far more successful, Habiturf. We suggest you read those links and follow them very carefully. Since you are in Hill County, not far from Travis County and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (home of Mr. Smarty Plants) where Habiturf was developed, we are confident it will grow there, IF (there is always an "if") you have plenty of sun (about 5 hours a day) and are willing to make the preparations necessary for success.

An article on how to prepare install and maintain this native lawn can be found here. To emphasize some of the points that are most important, we are going to quote a few statements from that article;

"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."

"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."

"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"

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Reproduction of purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
May 06, 2008 - What is the reproduction of a Purple Coneflower?
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Sideroxylon lanuginosum in Austin
August 12, 2009 - I have a tall (30-40 ft) Sideroxylon lanuginosum in my backyard. Last fall hundreds of saplings popped up in my yard following runners from the tall tree. I would like to keep a few of these sapling...
view the full question and answer

Male and female possumhaws for berries from Georgetown TX
April 23, 2012 - Do I need to plant two ilex decidua (possumhaws), a male and female to have red berries on the tree in the winter?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of an agave from Dripping Springs TX
April 30, 2014 - Hi there, I have a Century Agave in my backyard. It is over 6 feet tall and is now producing the center stalk. I understand that means the plant is going to die. My question is how to harvest the pups...
view the full question and answer

Requirements to grow Lupinus albifrons
October 07, 2008 - What is required to grow Lupinus albifrons? Temp., soil mix, alkaline or acid, etc.?
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