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

Monday - December 23, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Compost and Mulch, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Revegetation of school site with meadow plants from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are revegetating a hill country school site (typical calciferous soil stripped of vegetation & minimal topsoil) with a native seed mix equal to Native American Seed "Meadow Mix". We have an abundance of mulch from trees/vegetation that was removed from the site. it has aged for 1 year. After the seed is broadcast, what is the maximum depth of mulch that should be placed over the seed? Do we need to wait until spring to plant

ANSWER:

We have some really great How-To Articles that will help you with all of your project. We will start with Under Cover with Mulch. Please note particularly the last line under "Good Mulching Practices":

"Mulching inhibits all seeds growth, so leave seeds you may be trying to germinate uncovered."

We will get back to that with some other ideas on using that mulch in your project, but for now, please go to the section of How-To Articles and read all of the articles under "Large Scale Wildflower Planting," including:

Getting Started

Meadow Gardening - Under "When to Plant" in that article, take note of this statement:

"Fall is the best time to plant many native species in Central Texas."

Recreating a Prairie

Seed Collecting and Storage

Obviously, our recommended time for seeding is now past, and the mulch you have should not be spread over the seeds in any circumstances. However, that mulch is pure gold and we hate to see it wasted. Our Best of all Worlds personal recommendation would be to postpone the planting until Fall 2014. In the meantime, till some of that wonderful mulch into your minimal topsoil. Since the mulch has already aged a year, it should be in prime condition to begin loosening up and enriching that worn-out soil. It will become an integral part of a dark, rich soil that is just waiting for your seeds next October.

We believe you have all the components of a successful revegetation and reincarnation of a native meadow; just your timing is a little off. Best of luck!

 

 

 

 

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Failure to come up of blackeyed susans in Lancaster PA
June 28, 2009 - My blackeyed susans have been blooming for ten years. All of a sudden this year they didn't come up at all..why?
view the full question and answer

Vine for pergola in Belton TX
February 06, 2013 - Hello, I would like to know what vine would be best to cover a rather large pergola. It will be in full sun in caliche soil. :( The area has access to a water hose and I would like to have something...
view the full question and answer

Fruit in the compost bin
June 07, 2009 - I have a compost bin and I use the pulp from fruits and vegetables as one of the ingredients in my compost pile. We juice everyday so will all this pulp be too potent for new seedlings?
view the full question and answer

Care of Ixora by lowering soil pH
March 24, 2007 - I have a bunch of Ixoras that the leaves are turning brown, before I pull them out, is there any kind of treatment to save them? I have used insecticidal soap several times but there has been no impro...
view the full question and answer

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