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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - July 20, 2007

From: Dumfries, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Butterfly Gardens
Title: Fall seeding of Butterfly Weed in Virginia
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Just ordered seeds from you - Butterfly Weed - and I plan to hopefully scatter the seeds early Oct. in an area along a tree line here in No. VA where the sun bakes the soil as it is exposed to hot western sun. What is your recommendation for preparing the area and is there a mulch which I could lightly use to help with evaporation? Thanks!

ANSWER:

Try to find some reasonably bare spots on the soil surface. Rake them smooth and sow your Butterfly weed seeds. Very gently rake them in or cover lightly with finely sifted soil. Gently water them in. You can lightly mulch with clean pine straw or wheat straw, just don't go too heavy on it. You want to still be able to see the soil through the mulch.
 

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