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

Plants to grow under elm tree in Amarillo TX
May 01, 2014 - I have a large elm tree and I can't get seem to get anything to grow under it. I was wondering if there are any shade-loving groundcovers that you would recommend (have tried English Ivy, hostas, an...
view the full question and answer

Flower color under large pine tree from South Elgin IL
April 05, 2013 - I have a very large pine tree that I would like to plant some flowers under. I have hostas, stonecrop and fern, but like to add some color. What do you suggest? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant vines for Mobile AL
May 07, 2013 - I am looking for an evergreen vine that will thrive in the shade in hot and humid south Alabama. I plan to plant on a trellis. A flowering vine would be even better.
view the full question and answer

Native plants for small pots in sun in Austin
January 24, 2011 - Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! We are renting our house, so while we have a yard, the landlord would prefer us to only add plants to his landscaping in pots. I have filled some large ones, but have been una...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses to accompany buffalograss in shade
May 01, 2008 - What grass goes with buffalo for shade/partial shade?
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