From research here at the Wildflower Center that is funded by Walmart, we have found that a mix of Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss), Bouteloua gracilis (blue grama) and Hilaria belangeri (curly-mesquite) and other species needs less mowing, watering and weeding and also replicates nature’s shortgrass prairies. Although the species are different, these grasses have almost identically shaped leaves and color and produce a great-looking, even-textured, dense lawn that does well in full sun but also tolerates 50 percent shade. The mixes are available from native seed suppliers such as Douglass King Company and Native American Seed. For every 1,000 square feet you will need about 3 to 4 pounds of HABITURF™
That’s pretty cool. I’ve seen buffalograss planted for landscaping at some shopping areas, and it doesn’t look bad, but it also isn’t as awesome as St. Augustine. But, St. Augustine just can’t handle it out here: you have to fertilize it a lot, ensuring a lot of sulfur (to counteract all the limestone), and you have to water the stuff to no end. Now with our drought, St. Augustine lawns are just going to die out. I love how well it stands up to foot traffic, I love how it looks and feels, but folks, it just doesn’t work here.
Really, what works best and grows best anywhere is that which is native to the area. And obviously the seeds that make up HABITURF are about as native as you can get for this area.
The only bummer I can see is these grasses don’t stand up that well to traffic. They can handle a little, but not a lot. That’s a bummer because I’d love to try this in the backyard, but that’s going to have a lot of dog running traffic. This year we were finally able to get all the St. Augustine in the backyard to die out and it’s now mostly all bermudagrass. I’m still not in love with bermuda, but all things considered it’s the best that can be done.
Nevertheless, we’ll continue our efforts to xeriscape. Now that the heat has broken, our landscaper, Fertile Ground Organic Gardens (who BTW just 3-peated in the Austin Chronicle’s Reader’s Poll for Best Landscape Services) was just back out here to get some measurements. Once all is done, I’ll finally post some pictures of the work.