En EspaŅol

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?


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
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

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


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!


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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Grass planting time in East Texas
January 11, 2010 - When is a good time to plant grass in East Texas - Harrison County? Thanks so much.
view the full question and answer

Native turf grass for Denison TX
January 27, 2014 - I have researched many grasses for sandy soil in Denison,Tx that are easy mantainance. Habiturf has been recommended but is mostly Buffalo grass and is not recommended for sandy soil. What other opt...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a sandy slope at a weekend cabin in central WI.
June 30, 2009 - I have a cabin in central Wisconsin where the soil is equivalent to a sandy beach. There are some areas that are nearly impossible to mow because of how steep the incline is. Could you recommend som...
view the full question and answer

Is nimblewil (Muhlenbergia schreberi) a turf grass or a weed
July 26, 2008 - Mr. SP, I have seen nimblewill (Muhlenbergia schreberi) both promoted as a turf grass and disparaged as an invasive pest. Do you have an opinion on this grass and whether/where/how it should be us...
view the full question and answer

Dying non-native St. Augustine grass from Austin
May 02, 2013 - Although we all know St. Augustine grass is not a good thing, I am stuck with it and am trying to save areas that appear to have take-all fungus. I have done much reading online and have tried peat m...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center