En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 31, 2007

From: South Paris, ME
Region: Northeast
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Appropriate mulch for strawberries in Maine
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Can mulch (like cedar mulch- kinds used in flower gardens) be used between rows of strawberries? Can you also suggest how far apart lupine species need to be so that they wont interbreed? Thank you! The range of your advice is staggering.

ANSWER:

While straw has been traditionally used as the mulch for strawberries -- thus the common name -- other types of mulch may be used. You should take care, though, when using landscaping mulch such as cedar shred to avoid crowding or covering the crown of the plant with it. Shredded bark is typically chock full of fungi that may attack the crowns of your strawberry plants if nestled in close contact with them. Clean straw tends to allow air to flow more freely around it and does not provide such an ideal environment for fungal attack. If you mulch heavily with bark shred, be sure and pull some of it out of the rows early in the spring so that the runners can set new plants -- they need contact with the soil.

In your area (Maine), the best mulch material is clean, fresh straw. Clean pine needles would be a second choice. When the temperatures drop to around 20 degrees F. in the fall, completely cover the plants with a thick layer of straw. Remove most of the straw in the spring, leaving some beneath the foliage of the mature plants to keep the berries off the ground and clean.

Lupines are often pollinated by honeybees, though butterflies, moths and other types of bees may visit, too. To be certain of no interbreeding you will need to locate your lupine species 1/4 mile or more apart. However, if your lupines are located on either side of your house (actually separated by the house), the chance of interbreeding is greatly diminished.

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Planting a tulip poplar in Virginia Beach VA
November 10, 2009 - Hi. I would like to plant a Yellow Poplar, 'Tulip Tree' in my front yard. I will not be able to plant this tree until after November 15th. The tree will receive direct sun and will be exposed to hea...
view the full question and answer

Seed regrowth through mulch
September 06, 2007 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants: I have planted a perennial and wildflower garden and would like to put mulch down to control the weeds and retain moisture. Will the plants that drop their seeds be able to re- ...
view the full question and answer

Using cedar chips as mulch in Wimberley, TX
August 19, 2010 - In TX Hlll Country there is an abundance of wood chips, usually "cedar", which I have used as plant mulch. Since wood chips extract nitrogen to decay, do you consider chips a poor choice as plant m...
view the full question and answer

Shredded hardwood for mulch
December 07, 2007 - I intend to landscape a section of my new property. but want to wait until the cold weather has passed. I have pets that will be contained within a fenced-in area that has some wild grasses but also ...
view the full question and answer

Watering needs for a new landscape
October 11, 2008 - How much and how frequently are you supposed to water after implementing a new landscape? For example, perennials and succulents that are drought tolerant.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center