Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Saturday - April 21, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Turf for high-traffic area in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am building a large soccer field at my preschool in Austin, TX in a full sun area. What type of grass would be best for me to use given that it will be a very high-traffic area with lots of direct sun? Thank you!

ANSWER:

The very best grass for a totally sunny situation would be Habiturf, developed by a team led by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. See also this How-To Article on Native Lawns: Habiturf - The Ecological Lawn.  In both cases, you will quickly see that preparation for the Habiturf planting and maintenance of it do not lend themselves to the pitter-patter of preschool feet. Much as we hate to concede this is a situation that cannot be helped by native plants, which is what the Wildflower Center and Mr. Smarty Plants are dedicated to, you may have to consider either a non-native (and potentially invasive) bermudagrass or something like pea gravel or mulch. Neither of those choices would be ideal for your purpose, as there could be a lot of skinned knees and scuffled mulch.

So, reluctantly, we refer you to Aggie Horticulture Bermudagrass. Texas A & M has long been known for developing grasses for playing fields, golf courses and generally heavy-use plants. Ordinarily, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center would not recommend anything non-native, but this is a problem with putting in a new turf of any kind, whether or not it will take extensive traffic.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Information on non-native Leopard wort
February 10, 2009 - I'm looking for information on the herbaceous perennial, Leopard wort.
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native artichoke from El Paso, TX
May 25, 2014 - I have a five year old artichoke plant in the ground that gets sun and some shade, has plenty of fertilizer and compost. Gets enough water. It has been beautiful in years past and last year had 10 a...
view the full question and answer

New plant introductions in Georgia.
October 15, 2009 - Can you list 5-10 brand new plants to the marketplace this 2009-2010 season for my area in GA? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Information about non-native Canaga odorata, ylang-ylang
July 10, 2008 - can you tell me the composition of canaga odarata or ylang-ylang flower? also, beneficial effects? it's for my science project..
view the full question and answer

Will non-native and invasive Mexican petunias grow under oak trees from St. Augustine FL
March 24, 2013 - Will Mexican Petunias grow under an Oak tree?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.