En EspaŅol

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?


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
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 - August 19, 2013

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


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


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.


More Groundcovers Questions

Native groundcover for central California
September 02, 2009 - In Modesto, CA. Hot summers, cold winters. Need a low ground cover for area next to driveway approx. 5ft X 14ft. that stays green all year round. I did have grass there but neigbors lawn is loaded wit...
view the full question and answer

Ground covers for play area in Plano, TX
April 14, 2007 - Is there a ground cover that would work under and around a swing in our front yard in Plano, Texas. It would get morning sun and dappled shade from a trimmed live oak in the afternoon. It would need t...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover under pine tree in NY
May 23, 2008 - Hello! I live in upstate NY. I'm trying to find an evergreen ground cover to plant under a pine tree. I believe it's a white spruce (but I'm not postive). I've read conflicting information reg...
view the full question and answer

Ground cover for heavily traveled walkway from Redondo Beach CA
April 23, 2013 - I am looking for a drought resistant ground cover that you can walk on. I live on a south facing, sunny corner lot, 2 blocks from the beach where people park and need to cross over to get to the sidew...
view the full question and answer

Native, full-sun, 4-in. evergreen grasses for Leander TX
November 07, 2011 - Help! I need a native Texas evergreen sedge/grass/ground cover for full-sun/hot/dry area between sidewalk and street. The plants will need to be kept about 4" high, if growth is higher it must be mow...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center