En Español

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

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

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Perennial Suggestions for Under Ash Trees in Minnesota
June 12, 2013 - With our house we have inherited 2 ash trees in our front yard with a large amount landscaping underneath. I'm replacing the landscaping but there are tree roots at the surface preventing me from bei...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to control erosion in Montgomery County, Texas
February 24, 2014 - I am looking for some kind of ground cover to control erosion on a north facing slope in Montgomery County, Texas. The area gets very little direct sunlight. I need something that will establish quick...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow under elm tree in Amarillo TX
May 01, 2014 - I have a large elm tree and I can't get seem to get anything to grow under it. I was wondering if there are any shade-loving groundcovers that you would recommend (have tried English Ivy, hostas, an...
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with wildflowers in shade in Maryland
January 11, 2008 - I'm an old White House Correspondent who covered LBJ as well as Mrs Johnson and knew and admired her. I visited the Wildflower Center with her on one occasion. I hope you will forward this to an appr...
view the full question and answer

Ornamental plants for under live oaks
September 08, 2008 - What ornamental plant will do well under Live Oak trees?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center