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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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"

 

 

 

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