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

Tuesday - November 02, 2004

From: williamsburg, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Turf
Title: Value of planting wildflowers versus maintaining turf
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I'm trying to determine the cost/value of planting wildflowers and whether it is less costly than maintaining turf. Do you have any research on this topic?

ANSWER:

The Wildflower Center has not done research on this subject, but I was able to find a study reported by a group in Illinois called the Openlands Project. According to its web page, the "Openlands Project, founded in 1963, is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing public open space in northeastern Illinois." The study (results of which are available as a downloadable PDF file on their web page) was undertaken by Applied Ecological Service of Brodhead, Wisconsin and estimates that maintaining prairie or wetlands costs only $3000 per acre versus $20,000 per acre for non-native turf grasses over a 20 year period.
For another estimate, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency publishes "A Source Book on Natural Landscaping for Public Officials" on line that outlines the economic benefits of using natural vegetation.
 

More Turf Questions

Erosion control in lawn in Tulsa, Oklahoma
April 03, 2008 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I have an erosion control question. I have a growing problem with erosion on one side of my house. The soil from the side of my house slopes down about 8" in about 3 feet to ...
view the full question and answer

Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides) for Brownsville, Texas lawn
January 08, 2008 - I inherited a house 2 miles from Boca Beach near Brownsville, Tx. Water has to be trucked in 30 miles from Brownsville so a conventional lawn is out of the question. Now the yard is only weeds. Alw...
view the full question and answer

Survival of native lawn in Hockley TX
August 02, 2011 - I'm on the edge of the Katy Prairie and a very large ranch with full blasting sun and completely open exposure. The soil is fill from the developers with more clay than sand, a minimum of nutrients,...
view the full question and answer

How much shade will Thunder Turf (Habiturf) take?
March 20, 2016 - How much shade will Thunder Turf take?
view the full question and answer

Perennial wildflowers for lawn in Dallas
May 02, 2010 - What perennial wildflowers can I plant in Dallas Texas that will bloom in March or early April that I can just toss out on the lawn? I know you have to soak bluebonnets.
view the full question and answer

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