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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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Monday - August 19, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Benefits of Habiturf from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have been reading about Habiturf and my question should be easy to answer. Is this is a grass you would recommend for kid play? Sitting on the lawn, kicking a soccer ball, etc. Any information about the types of activities this lawn can withstand from humans would be great. thanks

ANSWER:

Absolutely. First, read this article from the August 12, 2013 New York Times. Arid Southwest Cities' Plea: Lose the Lawn.

I sent an e-mail to Mark Simmons, Director, Research and Consulting, Ecosystem Design Group, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, who led the effort to develop Habiturf. He responded to the Times with this e-mail:


"Certainly, lawns maintained conventionally are a landscape on life-support.  So lose the lawn or pay dearly. Or a third option – use native turfgrass species adapted to drought and low soil nutrients. Better still, use a blend of native species to form a lawn that effectively simulates a ‘miniature prairie’. We have been researching this alternative approach to lawns for the last 5 years and already it has been adopted by home-owners, campuses and even at the George W Bush Presidential Center in Dallas. If the bi-monthly watering stops, then this lawn turns a drought-dormant brown, but will recover when rains return. This may be unsightly to some, but a few months of brown is a better alternative to no lawn at all. My kids would rather play in temporary-brown lawn than among cacti and rocks. And I still want my deck-chair and beer on grass, not hot gravel."

That is, if you will, from the horse's mouth.

 

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