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

Thursday - February 07, 2013

From: Spicewood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Unrecognized grass in Habiturf from Spicewood TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I purchased 2 bags of Habiturf from the Wildflower Center and planted it in late September. Now, early February, the predominant grass is not any of the 3 supposed components of the Habiturf, but looks more like perennial rye. Is it possible that the Habiturf had that seed in it? It is perhaps 80% of the lawn..now with flowering seed heads all over.

ANSWER:

Actually, the Habiturf mix has four native grasses in the mixture: Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (Blue grama), Bouteloua hirsuta (Hairy grama) and Hilaria belangeri (Curly mesquite grass). Below are three pictures of each grass, in some cases dried specimens from herbariums, so you can see all the details of the seeds and stalks. You can click on any picture and it will take you to an enlarged view of that picture in our Image Gallery. Also, you can click on any of the 4 plant links above to our Native Plant Database webpage on that plant, and get the details of height, planting and maturation times.

Next, if we may ask - did you read the articles and see the videos we have on installation of Habiturf, including preparation of the site in advance and practices in sowing the seeds? Please read these articles and check the instructions and seasons to see if you were in sync:

Native Lawns

Habiturf - The Ecological Lawn

How to Install Habiturf

As we re-read those articles, it appears to us that in the first place, the recommended planting time in Central Texas is Spring, not September. Going along with that, rye grass is frequently planted as a cover grass. If the ground has not been sufficiently prepared with tilling and application of compost as the articles suggested, the rye may have come back and taken over in the Summer before your grass seeds were planted in the Fall. Be sure to watch the video on installing Habiturf.

Hopefully, if it is properly cared for and mowed, the Habiturf will be able to overtake the rye grass (if that is what it is) and out-compete with it.

 

From the Image Gallery


Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Buffalograss
Bouteloua dactyloides

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Blue grama
Bouteloua gracilis

Hairy grama
Bouteloua hirsuta

Hairy grama
Bouteloua hirsuta

Hairy grama
Bouteloua hirsuta

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

Curly mesquite grass
Hilaria belangeri

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses for East Texas that require no mowing or watering
June 16, 2010 - What native grass can I grow in deep East Texas that would require no supplemental watering and no mowing?
view the full question and answer

Turf for high-traffic area in Austin
April 21, 2012 - I am building a large soccer field at my preschool in Austin, TX in a full sun area. What type of grass would be best for me to use given that it will be a very high-traffic area with lots of direct ...
view the full question and answer

Brown rings on grass under live oaks in Austin
June 13, 2013 - There are brown rings in the grass at the dripline on several Live Oak trees in our neighborhood. What causes this? The trees appear healthy.
view the full question and answer

Grasses for a wildflower meadow in Greenville, SC
August 17, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have been establishing a wildflower meadow in Greenville, SC. Our current wildflowers are: Purple Coneflower Perennial Black-eyed Susans Cardinal Flower Butte...
view the full question and answer

Drainage pond plantings from Mason MI
April 23, 2012 - We have a drainage pond in our back yard. It has a large muddy bank and some steep sides where erosion has started to take its toll. We are looking for some Michigan/Mid-Western native plants that w...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center