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

Thursday - July 03, 2014

From: Plano, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Habiturf care from Plano TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Five weeks ago, we planted a Habiturf lawn in our back yard. The grass looks great and is already about 6 inches. I have two questions to solve before we do the front yard. We have lots of purslane mixed in with the grass. Do we have to pull all of that by hand or will it die once we stop watering as much and the temperature rises (cool June in Plano). Also, I read the information that indicates to mow about 4 inches. Is it too soon to mow at 5 weeks, or should we just leave it as is?

ANSWER:

There are approximately 94 previous Mr. Smarty Plants Habiturf questions on our website. Because it is a relatively new product, with the research still ongoing, few of us have actual experience with it. Please see this previous answer which is from your part of the state. We suggest you read all the research material to answer your various questions. Below are a couple of quotations from that material that address your questions:

"Irrigation.
The lawn area should be irrigated every day for the first 10 days or longer, up to 15 days, under very hot, dry or windy conditions to prevent the soil from drying out. Thereafter, two soil-wetting (top 4 inches of soil) events per week for the next month, then two soil-wetting (top 6 inches of soil minimum) events per month for the remainder of the growing season which is March through November. Remove weeds as they appear, before they go to seed or become too established. Once the lawn is established in three to four months, you may opt to stop irrigating to save water and allow the lawn to go 'drought dormant'. The native grasses will go brown and temporarily stop growing but, adapted to drought, will green-up once rain returns. In prolonged drought (say over 6 weeks in summer with no rain) an irrigation event (if allowed) once every 5 - 6 weeks while not triggering "green-up" will keep the dormant turf alive."

"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."

And, finally, our favorite quotation on 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"

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Failure to thrive of Cherokee sedge in Spicewood, TX
May 18, 2009 - I have several Cherokee sedges, just planted in March. Three of them are doing fine, but the rest look like they're dying. Some are right next to one that is doing great. Any ideas?
view the full question and answer

Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
March 07, 2013 - I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not ph...
view the full question and answer

Wind and erosion tolerant plants from Austin
August 05, 2013 - I recently cleared a fire break by removing cedar from around my home in West Austin. I'd like to plant the exposed NW facing slope with native shrubs and trees. Looking for selections that can wit...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for bioswale in Tennessee
September 02, 2008 - What native plants do you recommend for a bioswale in Tennessee?
view the full question and answer

Grasses for area under pecan tree in Tennessee
March 26, 2009 - I have two big pecan trees in my yard and would like to know what kind of grasses would thrive in the shade and also survive for my area of the country.
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