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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.

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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.

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Monday - May 14, 2012

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Groundcovers, Grasses or Grass-like, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Habiturf for East Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We live in east Texas, right on the beginning of the piney words, the soil is a little sandy. We have taken up a wooden walkway but can't get anything to grow there. Could the soil be dead from year of not having anything grow there under the walkway? Would Habiturf work?

ANSWER:

Without knowing the town and county in Texas (your e-mail address was from Dallas) we will need to refer you to some websites on Habiturf; you can read them and determine if Habiturf is usable there. We doubt that it will be.

Native Lawns: Habiturf - The Ecological Lawn In this article, Habiturf is defined as "a multiple species mix for North, West and Central Texas." Also, you should know that Habiturf requires at least 5 hours a day of sunlight.

We do, however, have a video on preparing soil for Habiturf which we think would be useful for your strip of apparently sterile ground. You might still not be able to grow Habiturf, but it sure would be good dirt when you finished.

Go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search, first select Texas, and then under Habit, pick grass/grass-like or herbs (herbaceous flowering plants).You can even select the height of plant you are looking for. But you must specify the amount of sun under Light Requirements - that is, Sun is 6 hours or more of sun a day, part shade 2 to 6 hours of sun and shade 2 hours or less of sun a day.

To take this out for a trial run, we are going to specify first grasses, with a 0 to 12" height, and part shade. On the second go-round, specify herbs, and the same height and light. Once you have the database mastered, you can use any criteria or any type plant to make selections for that area or others in your yard.

Grass or Grasslike plants for East Texas in Part Shade:

Carex texensis (Texas sedge)

Juncus tenuis (Poverty rush)

Herbaceous Blooming Plants for Part Shade:

Amblyolepis setigera (Huisache daisy)

Callirhoe involucrata (Winecup)

Calyptocarpus vialis (Straggler daisy)

Chamaecrista fasciculata (Partridge pea)

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas sedge
Carex texensis

Poverty rush
Juncus tenuis

Huisache daisy
Amblyolepis setigera

Winecup
Callirhoe involucrata

Horseherb
Calyptocarpus vialis

Partridge pea
Chamaecrista fasciculata

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