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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.

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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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Saturday - May 05, 2012

From: Missouri City, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Native lawn solution for Southeast Texas from Missouri City TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I noticed the native lawn article regarding Habiturf states it is for "North, West and Central Texas". What is the recommended native lawn solution for Southeast Texas/Gulf Coast (Houston/Galveston)? Thanks

ANSWER:

Sadly, there really is not a native lawn mix (at least not yet) for the area you are interested in. It has taken some time and experimentation to come up with the seed mix that can grow thickly enough to discourage weeds, go with minimum water during drought seasons, and only needs mowing a couple times a year. Another problem is shade-Habiturf needs about 5 hours a day of sun. Lawns beneath trees and other shade are difficult. There are a number of native grasses that will grow in your area and/or tolerate shade, but they are not what could be called lawn grasses.

As we move into more heat and drought, the research team at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is aware of the needs of this sort of grass in many parts of the country, not just Central Texas. Like all research, this is a function of the availability of funds and other resources to make it possible.

In case you have not already done so, please read this article on Habiturf, which shows a 5-minute video on the planting of Habiturf. On the same page are three more links to more information on the subject. You will learn that this is not a do-it-all, sprinkle seeds on top of turf lawn. Would that it were that easy.

 

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