Habiturf®: The Ecological Lawn
Turfgrasses have a wide range of applications: roadsides, parks, corporate campuses, golf courses, utility rights of way and residential lawns. But they’re often villainized as requiring high levels of nutrients, water and maintenance. In 2007, Wildflower Center researchers decided to put turfgrass to the test. Five years of research demonstrated that select native turfgrass species can replace the traditional lawn without requiring lots of water and pesticides. The result is fewer weeds, less fertilizer, less mowing and the ability to provide habitat — in other words, the ecological lawn. Center researchers were so pleased with these grasses’ performance they developed a seed mix based on their findings.
The resulting Habiturf® is a blend of Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri curly mesquite). It establishes quickly and, best of all, conserves precious resources once established. It does especially well in the dry regions of Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona.
Although Habiturf is a mix of species, its grasses have almost identically shaped leaves and color, producing a great-looking, even-textured lawn that does well in full sun (see this how-to for detailed growing instructions). A dense and attractive native turf, Habiturf is soft to the touch and comfy on bare feet. And it compares favorably to non-native turfgrass species in its ability to thrive with minimal watering and mowing.
- Based at the Wildflower Center