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

Monday - April 16, 2012

From: Willow City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Watering, Shade Tolerant, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Interaction of Habiturf and St. Augustine grasses from Willow City TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


How does Habiturf and St. Augustine interact? Does one dominate the other? Can you plant them in close areas? Thank you.


The first thing we need to establish is that Habiturf is made up of a mix of seeds native to Central Texas, well adapted to our climate, and drought-resistant. St. Augustine grass is native to western Africa, and is a high maintenance, high water use grass that tolerates shade.

Habiturf has been developed by a team headed by the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. As with everything we recommend, it is native to North America and also to Central Texas. St. Augustine is, obviously non-native and we certainly don't recommend it at all, especially with our drought conditions and water restrictions in Central Texas.

How would they interact? In a hypothetical situation, with them growing side by side, the Habiturf would not do well in a shady situation, and the St. Augustine would burn up without lots of watering in the sun. If they were watered as little as the Habiturf required, the St. Augustine would burn up. If they were watered sufficiently for the St. Augustine, the Habiturf would not tolerate it. Neither would be dominant except in its own type of environment.

We are suggesting to people who have a lot of shade in their yards that they get over the need for turf. You can find shade-tolerant ground covers, use decomposed granite and plant shade tolerant succulents, or a nice layer of a good-quality mulch over the area. Mulch is attractive, smells good, helps keep weeds down, insulates roots from heat and cold and, as it decomposes, improves the soil beneath it, turning into compost.

Here are two articles that can give you more information:

Native Lawns

Native Lawns: Habiturf - The Ecological Lawn



More Compost and Mulch Questions

Ailing Tecoma stans from Phoenix AZ
August 24, 2012 - I have several young Tecoma plants in my Phoenix, AZ garden. I planted them in June and have tended to them over the summer. They are watered twice daily. On some of the plants, I've noticed two oddi...
view the full question and answer

Disagreement on amending soil for planting from Austin
September 01, 2012 - In today's newspaper column, you answered a question about transplanting a redbud. You said to follow the instructions on the WFC web site, except you recommended adding compost to the backfill soil....
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in high zinc, lead and copper soil in Los Angeles
January 24, 2011 - We live on the Westside of Los Angeles and have just been given the bad news that our beds are high in zinc (86.39), lead (45.98) and copper(12.95). Can you recommend some plants that may grow in thes...
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs or ground cover for north-facing landscape in Ft. Worth
March 23, 2010 - Need native plant ideas for a landscaping bed against the house facing north. Already has 1 Beautyberry but two others died of root rot last year due to incredibly high water table in our area. Old ...
view the full question and answer

Decline ot Heartleaf rosemallow from Austin
March 26, 2012 - My tulipan del monte -a new small plant from the wildflower center--did great all winter and was forming a new flower bud, just died in a matter of a few days. It looks like it "dried up", no visib...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center