Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

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 Watering Questions

Water eroding corner in Austin
October 25, 2011 - I live close to the Wildflower Center. My yard slopes - as do my neighbors' yards to one corner in my yard. The result is constant moisture in one corner. The rest of the yard is caliche, rocks (m...
view the full question and answer

Watering a Montezuma Cypress in Spring Branch, TX
July 11, 2013 - Live near San Antonio, and have a Montesuma Cypress, 15 ft tall. Great soil. Planted in April, should I keep it moist??? The foliage is getting brown.
view the full question and answer

How will my Texas Mountain Laurel survive clay soil?
June 09, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Pants: I live in a new neighborhood (brownfield site) in Central Austin where the developers have put fill in the yards. After not much more than 2 inches of topsoil you encounter fairl...
view the full question and answer

Leaf drop from live oaks in mid-summer
July 08, 2013 - We have a live oak that is starting to drop a considerable amount of leaves here in early July in Cypress Texas. Its a mature tree with a base diameter of 12-14" and 25-30' tall. We live in a subd...
view the full question and answer

Effect of epsom salts and gray water on plants
December 04, 2007 - We live in Phoenix where water is a precious commodity. We have decided to use as much of the gray water as we can for watering our garden, shrubs and trees. One of the suggestions we heard about w...
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.