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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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Monday - December 05, 2011

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflower Center, Watering, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Is installing irrigation with Habiturf a good idea in Round Rock Texas?
Answered by: Leslie Uppinghouse

QUESTION:

Mr. Smarty Plants, I am in the process of planning a new lawn in my front yard. We have decided to plant the Habiturf seed mix (thank you, by the way). Originally, we planned on installing a sprinkler system, however after reading on this site I am not so sure it will be necessary. I see it takes some watering for the first few months, but after that it says the grass only needs water 1-2 per month maximum. Are we going to be wasting our time and money by installing this sprinkler system? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Whether or not to put in an irrigation system depends on a couple of things. If they're other planting beds or trees in this space that makes it convenient for you to water and the space in question is too large for you to lug a hose around then it might be a good option. Sprinkler systems are pretty handy for setting zones and heads to only hit certain areas of the yard at specified times. Just because you have a sprinkler installed doesn't mean you will be waisting water, the efficiency comes with the programing. 

If you are only looking to water the Habiturf and cost of instillation is an issue than you can skip it, as long as you are good about watering the yard when it needs it and can reach these areas evenly. Habiturf was bred specifically for the drier conditions of central Texas as well as the extreme conditions that plague us.

As it mentions on the web site in the How To Articles about Native Lawns: Once Habiturf is planted, the lawn should be irrigated every day for the first ten days or longer, up to fifteen days, under very hot dry or windy conditions to prevent the soil from drying out. The growing season for Habiturf is from March through November and once the lawn is established you can choose to let the lawn become "drought dormant" and not water it at all. The native grasses will turn brown and stop growing temporarily but will adapt to drought and will green up once rain returns. In prolonged drought, irrigate once every five or six weeks to keep the dormant turf alive. 

To get back to your question, if you do decide to instal an irrigation system please try not to overwater the grass. One of the great benefits this grass provides is that if it is a normal dry hot summer and you are not watering you should not have very many weeds. If you overwater and seeds from weeds get into your grass then you risk having to battle weeds all summer long, which is what normally happens all year with non native turf lawns and irrigation schedules that keep these lawns so green.

The researchers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are pretty excited about the benefits Habiturf provides. If you follow the directions you should be just fine without spending a lot of money on a sprinkler system.

 

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