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 Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses for golf courses from Austin
October 06, 2013 - I may be working on two different golf courses and wanted to know if any native or hybrid native grasses would work for the fairways and rough areas? The rough areas are no problem as a number of ...
view the full question and answer

Native turf and trees for Odessa TX
July 29, 2013 - What native turf and trees can I grow in my Odessa, Tx back yard?
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace Phragmites australis (Common reed) in Cedar Ridge Preserve
February 25, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the DFW area and volunteer at a preserve (Cedar Ridge). We are constantly battling the common reed, Phragmites australis, around the pond. I am wondering what shou...
view the full question and answer

Native alternative for liriope
September 20, 2011 - I am looking for native alternatives to liriope for use in sun to part shade, moderate moisture planting beds. Would prefer evergreen options.
view the full question and answer

Meadow garden for Colorado Springs CO
June 03, 2012 - We recently purchased a restored home on a mesa just above the downtown area of Colorado Springs on the front range. The previous owners seeded the front lawn with blue gramma and told me that all I ...
view the full question and answer

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