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

Wednesday - July 20, 2005

From: Spring Branch, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils
Title: Smarty Plants on mulch and organic material
Answered by: Joe Marcus and Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live near Canyon Lake, just north of San Antonio in a new subdivision. I call on you for advice, as I have attended several classes there and hope you can help. Several areas on our property and neighbors' were scraped off during construction, or when trenching for utilities, leaving a bare, white scar of ground up limestone on the surface. As you know, when water is added, it turns hard as the rock it is. I read the article on restoration (Restoration: The basics on how to repair your land by Steve Windhager, Ph.D.) which contains wonderful information, but to step back, before any restoration can begin, we are asking ourselves what do we need to do to this hard surface to prepare it to receive even a tough native? I am a Master Gardener, and my suggestion was to shallowly cultivate it to loosen it up, then add organic matter and mulch. Is this the proper technique to initially prepare this chopped up rock for seeding? Any help you can give us will be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

You are doing exactly the right thing by adding mulch and organic material to the scraped soil. Loosening the surface and working the added material into the limestone material is very effective, but you can also apply topsoil with mulch on the surface effectively without loosening the surface underneath. Be aware that you need to monitor for unwanted weeds that come in as a part of anything you are putting on your plot.

 

More Soils Questions

Effects of patio under large tree
July 17, 2008 - I would like to put in a patio under a fairly large tree. I understand a tree needs some open ground around it for air and water. Can I use flagstone leaving 6-10 inches of space between the stones?...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Hamelia patens in Laredo
September 19, 2008 - I have a question regarding Hamelias patens(firebush)that I have been trying to grow for 2 years. I live in Laredo, Texas and this area should be an excellent climate for this plant. I planted 12 of t...
view the full question and answer

Habiturf installation after Take-All fungus
January 24, 2012 - Are other soil remedies needed (besides those listed in your Habiturf brochure) to install Habiturf on land which had a St. Augustine lawn which was decimated by take all patch.
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Narrow, Dry, Shaded Site in Georgia
April 03, 2014 - I am writing from Valdosta, GA. Could you please suggest three perennial shrubs and/or plants that flower at different times of the spring and summer? Also ones that can be planted in a 2 ft. wide s...
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