En Español

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

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

Allelopathy of American elms from Dallas
March 24, 2013 - Are American elms at all allelopathic?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover to withstand dog traffic in Michigan
November 02, 2010 - I need a soft ground cover that will grow in sand, and be able to take four big dogs that love to run in the yard. Grass just doesn't make it. Someone suggested that groundcover might work. Thanks...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for Pflugerville, TX in blackland soil
March 21, 2008 - Mr. S-P, I'm perusing the plant sale list for a couple of tall shrubs to plant on the sunny southwest side of my house, in Blackland soil. It is generally dry there because of the sun, but can ge...
view the full question and answer

Freeze damage to esperanza in pot from Brady TX
December 10, 2009 - My esperanza, currently in a container, has suffered some freeze damage. I have prepared a planting spot for it and am not sure whether to plant now, trim it back if I do plant it, etc. I would appr...
view the full question and answer

Identification of shrub looking like honeysuckle in Odessa TX
October 02, 2011 - Bought a shrub in Pecos, TX yesterday. It looks like honeysuckle but the brightest flat orange I have ever seen. Flower and greenery looked like honeysuckle but when I looked on the Internet under or...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center