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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

QUESTION:

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

ANSWER:

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

 

 

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