Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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

QUESTION:

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.

ANSWER:

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

Foundation garden in shade in Durham, NC
April 29, 2009 - I'm trying to replant a 3'x8' garden near the foundation of our house in Durham, NC. This part of the yard gets little, if any, sun and is mostly clay. I've tried adding compost and soil conditi...
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

Recovering neglected garden space from Grapevine TX
March 22, 2014 - I live in Grapevine TX (Dallas). I just moved into a house where almost the entire large backyard is covered by oak trees that shed tons of leaves throughout our mild falls/winters. The yard has not...
view the full question and answer

Why all the acorns from Austin
November 03, 2010 - What's the explanation for the huge crop of acorns falling from my live oak trees this fall. Do you recommend I dump them in my composter or just throw them in the flower beds? Thanking you in adv...
view the full question and answer

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

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.