Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Wednesday - July 24, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Problem with Habiturf. Is it dormant or dead?
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Mark Simmons

QUESTION:

We planted habiturf in spring 2012. It's beautiful. But since last summer, we have had one area that seems to go dormant much more rapidly than the rest, even though it receives the same amount of water, same treatments, no major difference in sunlight. Today, after a half inch of rain yesterday, this area has turned a deep brown, (never did this before) and now appears to be spreading. Any idea what's happening? Could you post close-up photos of what the dormant stage is supposed to look like? I have trouble distinguishing between "dead" and "dormant."

ANSWER:

I contacted Dr. Mark Simmons, Director of Ecosystem Design Group at the Lady Bird Johsnon Wildflower Center and chief researcher and developer of Habiturf™.  He has Habiturf™ on his own lawn. He says your problem sounds to him like dormancy.  He has a place on his lawn that goes dormant early even though it gets water at the same rate as the rest of the lawn.  The reason that it goes dormant is that there is a large piece of limestone underneath that section so the soil doesn't hold moisture as well.  He doesn't think it is disease.  If it is, it would be a first since there have been no reports of die-off thus far.  Recovery from dormancy can take up to 10 days with available moisture.  At present, Dr. Simmons is out of town but he will try to post photos of dormant grass when he is back at the Wildflower Center.

 

More Turf Questions

Removal of Western yarrow invading lawn
July 23, 2006 - We have western yarrow in our yard and it is starting to take over and kill the grass. How do we get rid of it?
view the full question and answer

Process of converting from lawn to wildflower meadow in New Jersey
March 17, 2006 - I live in northern New Jersey and have an acre of property which is currently a grassy lawn. I would like to make a meadow where the lawn is. What is the process to convert from a lawn to a meadow? Th...
view the full question and answer

Replacing non-native lawn grasses in an HOA in Kyle TX
March 27, 2009 - We just rounded out our first year with our first lawn here in Central Texas. I was stingy with the water and needless to say our non-native, Bermuda grass and St. Augustine lawn did not fare well. Id...
view the full question and answer

Replacing lawn in Taylor, Texas
May 28, 2009 - I live in Taylor, Texas, just northeast of Austin, in the Blackland Prairie region. However, I do not live on a farm, but in town on a city lot of 1/3 acre. My soil is clayey, and currently I have a L...
view the full question and answer

Alternative for HABITURF® in Contra Costa County, CA
September 17, 2014 - We live in Kensington, just north of Berkeley, in the San Francisco area. We intend to get rid of our water consuming lawn and we are wondering what kind of alternative you would suggest. You don't s...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.