En EspaÑol

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
1 rating

Sunday - October 24, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Wildflower seeds affected by mulch in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a small wildflower garden in my central Austin yard. In early summer, I had some extra mulch and put it in this garden. Now I'm thinking that was a mistake. The bed has re-seeded itself for several years now. Will the mulch interfere with re-seeding?

ANSWER:

It can, if the seeds are being caught in the mulch and unable to contact soil. Also, if the mulch is left on when the seeds are germinating, which is pretty soon for Central Texas, they would not be getting the sunlight they need for germination. You need to examine the beds where you let the plants re-seed and see if the mulch has decomposed enough that it is really blended into the soil. That is one of the advantages of organic mulches, they will more or less compost in place, amending the soil and contributing to good drainage. If not, we would definitely recommend at least lessening the thickness of the mulch around your wildflowers. And lift it off gently, by hand, because some of those seedlings may have already appeared. You could also try harvesting seed from some of your plants and then placing those seeds in a fertile location where they can get sun and contact with the soil. We have three How-To Articles that we would like for you to read; you can probably pick up some of the answer to your question from each:

How to Grow Bluebonnets

Meadow Gardening

Under Cover with Mulch

 

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Wildflowers planted in Pittsfield, IL to bloom the first of October
July 01, 2010 - If I plant my wildflower seeds now in Illinois, is it possible they will bloom in three months (by the very beginning of October)?
view the full question and answer

Seeds of Meremia dissecta from Austin
September 30, 2012 - I have a large quantity of seeds of Merremia dissecta that I acquired from plants growing in the parking lot of the San Antonio Museum of Art. (Hmmm… I wonder if it's called alamo vine because of som...
view the full question and answer

When to seed a native grass lawn in a drought area?
December 15, 2011 - I want to plant a native grass lawn. It is raining now. Can I plant it in December? It might not be raining in the spring if the drought continues.
view the full question and answer

Different colors of Argemone spp. from McAllen TX
March 16, 2014 - I took pictures of at least 5 colors of pricklepoppy today. Is this common to have so many colors in one area? How do I harvest the seedpods and when is the best time to do so?
view the full question and answer

Collecting seeds of Anemone berlandieri, windflower
March 29, 2010 - The recent rainy weather has produced a small colony of what I have identified from your web site as Anemone berlandieri Pritzel (Texas Anemone) in my backyard. Is there a way to harvest these seeds f...
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