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
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

Plants to prevent erosion in clay soil in Heron, NY
September 07, 2009 - What plants could be used to plant on clay soil, Eastern exposure in full sun to stop erosion on a bay side hill with a steep grade?
view the full question and answer

Wildlife and bird friendly hedgerow for Chicago suburb
November 30, 2013 - Want to plant a wildlife/bird friendly hedgerow in suburban Chicago. Looking for a recommended mix of understory trees as well a shrubs and grasses. Site is part shade with average to wet soil and tr...
view the full question and answer

TIF 419 Bermudagrass vs. Zoysia
September 03, 2008 - I'm currently faced with the decision to sod my yard with TIF 419 or Zoysia. Zoysia is double the price so my knee jerk reaction is to go with Bermuda. Proponents of Zoysia claim it requires less m...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for sandy soil and not much water
April 14, 2008 - I am planning a new garden at home and would like to grow native plants that can handle sandy soil and don't need much water. I do not water my gardens.I would prefer plants that can have more than o...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for eroding hillside in Kansas
May 08, 2009 - We have a creek running thru our property and the hill running down to it is about 30 feet tall, in some places almost straight down, some sloping. Some is in shade, some full sun. We would like som...
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