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

Tuesday - January 24, 2012

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Soils, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Habiturf installation after Take-All fungus
Answered by: Becky Ruppel and Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

Are other soil remedies needed (besides those listed in your Habiturf brochure) to install Habiturf on land which had a St. Augustine lawn which was decimated by take all patch.

ANSWER:

I consulted with Mark Simmons, the Director of the Ecosystem Design Group here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, who is in charge of the Habiturf development and research and he said Habiturf hasn’t been tested against Take-All fungus, however it is not listed as a host for Take-All fungus.

In general, the soil preparations (e.g. deep tilling and compost) needed for Habiturf will give you a good chance at beating the Take-All root rot.  However, since you likely have spores from the fungus in your soil, treating your soil with a fungicide as suggested by this and this article may prevent re-infestation.  It is also possible to treat your grass with a fungicide if the Take-All reoccurs. 

However, there are several aspects of Habiturf which may allow you to re-establish a lawn without fungicide.  There is evidence that a stable fungal and bacterial soil community will suppress the Take-All fungus and allow the grass to fill in and be maintained fairly easily.  Because of this, it is especially important for you to use really good living compost that has a strong active fungi and bacteria community to minimize the impact of Take-All fungus in the existing soil on new grass. 

Another advantage of Habiturf against Take-All fungus is Habiturf has low water and well draining soil requirements.  Take-All root rot thrives in heavily watered soils, therefore the use of the Habiturf should help because it needs less watering than St. Augustine.  Additionally, the well drained soil needed for Habiturf will help avoid overly moist surface soil conditions that promote Take-All root rot. 

Finally, Habiturf will establish a multi-species grass community. The mix has three native species which have a better chance of establishing a stable green lawn than just St. Augustine by itself.  With the diversity of grasses in the mix there is a chance that one or more native species may be resistant or less affected by Take-All fungus.  As a result, the grass species that is most resistant will fill in any patches of soil that has high levels of Take-All root rot where the others are not able to grow.   

I noticed that you were in Houston, TX and before you install Habiturf you may want to consider reading this Mr. Smarty Plants answered by Nan Hampton and Mark Simmons about Habiturf in Houston. 

 

More Turf Questions

Alternative for HABITURF® in Contra Costa County, CA
September 17, 2014 - We live in Kensington, just north of Berkeley, in the San Francisco area. We intend to get rid of our water consuming lawn and we are wondering what kind of alternative you would suggest. You don't s...
view the full question and answer

Alternative for HABITURF® in Los Angeles County, CA
December 04, 2014 - The Habiturf brochure has a map indicating appropriate locales for growing this lawn. Excluded from the appropriate range is Southern California, where I live. Is Habiturf not recommended for this reg...
view the full question and answer

Short native turf grass for Texas lawn
January 31, 2009 - I would like a native grass mix that doesn't get too tall. It is mostly sun with afternoon shade. Mowing wouldn't be a problem, but not necessary. The soil is pretty good but shallow.I hate the ber...
view the full question and answer

Grass for sunny Texas lawn
February 28, 2009 - We lost our front yard(bermuda) last summer/fall due to grubs(we think). When and what type of grass seed do we do this spring to plant a new yard? We can't afford to lay sod. It's mostly sunny. We ...
view the full question and answer

Pros and cons of Hydrocotyl bonariensis as lawn replacement
March 22, 2008 - Want to convert lawn TO dollar weed! My Garland TX yard has become so shady over the years that I have a hard time with grass. A few years ago I noticed dollar weed in the grass which seemed to cre...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center