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?


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 - March 17, 2010

From: Hitchcock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Propagation, Seeds and Seeding
Title: Time to mulch without inhibiting seeds in Hitchcock, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


When would be the best time of year to put down mulch, if I want my native plants to re-seed? I don't want to bury the seed under mulch layers or new dirt. Thank you.


In Galveston County, which is USDA Hardiness Zone 9, you do not have the need for mulch in the Winter to protect from cold that other sections of the country do. Since most seeds in this part of the country are planted or self-sown by the plants themselves in the Fall, that is the time of year you do NOT want to put down fresh mulch. Mulching in the Summer, by which time the seedlings should all be tall enough to be recognized, will protect from the heat and help to hold moisture in the soil. That mulch will then decompose, further enriching the soil, and making it more welcoming for the next year's seed crops. You are correct in assuming that a tiny seedling is going to find it difficult or impossible to work itself up through a layer of mulch. For more than you really want to know about mulch, see this About.com: Landscaping website on Garden Mulch 101 - Selecting the Proper Garden Mulch.


More Compost and Mulch Questions

Non-native Podocarpus macrophyllus in Ft Worth TX
November 12, 2011 - I know this question does not pertain to a native plant but I've spent too much time not finding an answer to my question. I have many mature Podocarpus macrophyllus bushes at my house I purchased in...
view the full question and answer

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

Erosion at edge of driveway in Abilene TX
August 26, 2011 - My lawn suffered a great loss of grass over the winter and the soil at the edge of the driveway is washing away with watering and the occasional rains that we have. I am trying to get the grass to gr...
view the full question and answer

Oak leaf hydrangeas from Edwardsville IL
August 13, 2012 - Hello, I live in West Central Illinois (across the river from St. Louis) and I am considering planting several Oak leaf Hydrangea's in my yard. The location where I would like to plant them is und...
view the full question and answer

Plants for small shady area with clay soil
August 09, 2011 - Many people have space between the sidewalk and the street in front of their homes. In that space in front of our house is a growing maple that provides a lot of shade. The space is very dry, with...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center