En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Tolerance to foot traffic for native turf grass

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 - December 16, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Tolerance to foot traffic for native turf grass
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have read your articles on your mix of three native seeds for turf grass and on other native grasses but am left with a couple of lingering questions. We have about a 600 sq. ft area we want to plant with turf grass out back for the kids to play on. There is no grass at present. This area is shaded about half the day and in fill sun the rest. Does the mix of three grasses you recommend stand up to heavy foot traffic? Would it work here with our shade-sun combo? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), the main component of the three-seed-mix of turf grasses, according to our How to Article, Native Lawns: Buffalograss, is "extremely hardy, and can tolerate moderate foot traffic".  The other two components,  Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass), should be similar.  'Moderate' foot traffic is, of course, open to interpretation; but on the durability aspect, I think I would give it a try for your lawn.  You would need to keep foot traffic to a very minimum, however, until the grass is well-established.  The sun issue, though, may be a problem.  All three grasses do require lots of sunlight.  If your lawn doesn't get at least 6 hours of sun per day, they will probably not do well.  You could use the turf grass mixture in areas of your lawn that do get abundant sunshine and use alternative groundcover for the shadier areas.  Here are some possibilities for shade-tolerant groundcovers:

Carex planostachys (Cedar sedge)

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy)

Phyla nodiflora (Texas frogfruit)

Packera obovata (Golden groundsel)

You may have already read them; but if not, you probably would find the following articles helpful:

Native Lawns:  Multi-species

Native Lawns

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Bouteloua dactyloides


Bouteloua gracilis


Hilaria belangeri


Carex planostachys


Carex texensis


Calyptocarpus vialis


Phyla nodiflora


Packera obovata

 

 

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Hardy, inexpensive perennials for Mansfield, TX
March 12, 2008 - I am trying to fill two flowerbeds that are in full sun mostly and right next to the house. I want something that can live in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area and is pretty hardy. I also don't want to spe...
view the full question and answer

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

Plants to hold a slope in NY
May 17, 2010 - We recently built a house (on a hillside) and now are having some drainage issues on a fairly steep slope (a small creek is forming in the swale the excavator made "deal" with the drainage). Yester...
view the full question and answer

Native, durable, drought tolerant grasses for Amarillo, TX
May 13, 2005 - Are there any kinds of native grasses that are drought tolerant, durable and able to survive heavy foot traffic, and native to the Amarillo, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for traffic area in Austin
February 11, 2009 - What time of the year is best to plant grass seed in Central Texas? My lawn is in bad shape due to the drought and my dogs. I am considering replanting with tall fescue, do you have any comments or ...
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