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 - June 22, 2010

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant, Trees
Title: Mulching in deep shade in Round Rock TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Central Texas: Problem is deep shade and high temps. I noted your advice about danger to the tree when planting beneath shade trees, but wonder if there is a substance - perhaps pine needles - that could be spread (safely) to reduce mud problems when watering. Trees are Red Oak, Chiquapin Oak, Burr Oak.

ANSWER:

Certainly, we have recommended mulch before in areas beneath trees where nothing, or nothing you want, will grow. Pine needles, if they are readily available, will be fine. As they decompose, they will add some acidity to the soil, which shouldn't hurt the trees you mentioned. Ordinarily, we recommend a shredded hardwood mulch because it tends to remain more stable and stay in place. In any case, mulch is nearly always an advantage beneath trees; it will help keep down weeds that CAN grow in that environment, hold moisture in the soil, and protect the tree roots from heat and cold. As it decomposes, it will go into the soil and help improve the drainage in that soil and assist the roots in accessing nutrients in the soil. We think it's attractive and smells pleasant. The mulch will have to be replenished from time to time, but that is much less labor intensive and expensive than constantly replacing plants that will not grow there.

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Shade trees with a tap root
July 31, 2009 - I need a list of shade trees with a tap root system. I would also like the tree to grow at a medium to fast rate. I will be planting near a concrete wall and do not want the roots to do any damage to ...
view the full question and answer

Native plants with little sun and northern exposure for New York
April 26, 2006 - I live in a co-op and want to fix up the backyard. The backyard area has a west area to plant with a northern exposure and little sun and I am looking to plant something to cover the area. I would lik...
view the full question and answer

Shrub for part shade for hedge in Holly Ridge NC
April 07, 2010 - We live in Coastal NC. We would like a type of shrub for the front of our home which is partial shade, similar style to a boxwood or trainable hedge. What NC native would compare?
view the full question and answer

Wet & Shade in South Austin
February 19, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants - I live in south Austin (S. of Ben White) in a new development. Our houses are fairly close together, so there's little sun between them. The issue is that when it does rain, ...
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace Polygonum cuspidatum ( Japanese knotweed)
August 10, 2013 - I live in a heavily wooed area of Chippewa Falls, WI. Our property is covered with Giant Japanese Knot Weed. We have been trying to get rid of it for years. We are finally going to try using the dr...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center