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

Thursday - November 21, 2013

From: Austin, OR
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seeds and Seeding, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Allowing Habiturf to seed out in Austin TX or Austin OR
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What does it mean to let habiturf "go to seed?" Do I need to wait for all the seeds to drop before that is true? Or, if I mow it when there are seed heads, will those seeds provide new plants in the coming month or next year?


As we prepared to answer your question, we noticed that your town on our question page was listed as Austin OR, which we considered to mean Oregon. This is what Wikipedia says about Austin OR:

"Austin is an unincorporated community, considered a ghost town in Grant County, Oregon, United States. It is located north of Oregon Route 7, near the Middle Fork John Day River in the Malheur National Forest."

If that is, indeed, where you are writing from, we have no idea if Habiturf will even grow there. (note title of article below, with the locales where the grass has been tested) We are going to go ahead and answer your question as though it were from Austin, Texas, and if we are wrong, nothing is lost, because we don't know the answer if it is Austin, OR, anyway. The grass was developed by research in Austin TX at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

From our Ecosystem Design Group Habiturf: A Multi-Species mix for North, West and Central Texas:

We suggest a 3 to 4 inch cut for a great-looking, dense turf, resistant to weeds and light to moderate foot traffic. However, a 6- inch cut will produce a beautiful deeper lawn with a few seed heads if watered. Mow once every 3 to 5 weeks when growing and not at all when drought or cold dormant. Mowing shorter —2 inches or less— will damage your lawn's health. Conversely, not mowing at all through the growing season will produce a longer turf (8 inches or so high) with a lower density. This may be acceptable depending on how you use your lawn. However, allowing the grass to seed-out once a year, perhaps when you go on vacation, guarantees a good seed bank - insurance against drought, heavy foot traffic and weeds. It also provides high habitat value."

This would mean stopping mowing when the seedheads are forming and not mowing again until the majority of the seed heads have fallen onto the ground. Doing this once a year is all that is recommended.


More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Care for oak acorns after planting from Huntsville TX
April 21, 2012 - I planted oak trees from acorns, how often and how much do I water them?
view the full question and answer

Sharing Selfheal with Texas Friends
April 25, 2013 - I have discovered selfheal plants in my yard. When and how do I collect the seeds or do I just dig up plants to share with friends? I understand this is actually an herb. I love identifying wildflower...
view the full question and answer

Looking for seeds for Carex texensis and Horse Herb
July 27, 2014 - I am looking for either plants or seeds of Carex texensis and horseherb with no success. I live in the Albuquerque,NM mountain region (at ~6800ft, zone 6). I need something that is very dought resis...
view the full question and answer

When to harvest bluebonnet seeds in Hurst TX
April 12, 2009 - Can I harvest the Blue Bonnet Seeds now (April) or do I have to wait until they dry up & pods begin to open?
view the full question and answer

Source for book on Mimosa pudica from West Palm Beach FL
September 07, 2012 - Where can I find the TickleMe Plant Book -the guide for growing the sensitive plant mimosa pudica seeds?This is the plant that plays dead when touched.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center