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

Source for pecan mulch used at Wildflower Center from Austin
November 11, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Pants I was recently at the Wildflower Center. I saw all the pecan shell mulch and was wondering where you get it from. I noticed awhile back that it is one of the recommended mu...
view the full question and answer

Amendments for faster-growing trees from Bulverde TX
July 04, 2010 - What faster growing trees will grow in black gumbo clay that is about 12 inches deep above caliche rock in full sun with a sprinkler system set on 1 inch/week? How many and how much amendments such...
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

Chlorosis in sycamore in Kyle TX
August 04, 2011 - I'm trying to assist an elderly neighbor of mine with a plant issue. We have designated street trees in this community, our street being a Sycamore. The previous foreman out here called it a Mexica...
view the full question and answer

Too late to begin planting in May in Austin?
April 30, 2008 - Is it too late to begin planting in May? I live in Austin Texas and have finally completed my plans for a native Texas landscaping (plants and grass) of my front yard. I'd like to get the landscapi...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center