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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Sunday - December 26, 2010

From: San Jose, CA
Region: California
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Trees
Title: Allowing oak leaves to pile up at base of tree from San Jose CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Greetings, Is it a good idea to allow oak leaves to pile up at the base of our California live oak? Will that cause fungus, mold and rot that hurts the tree? Thanks for your advice.

ANSWER:

You are correct, it is never a good idea to allow any sort of mulch, which would include fallen leaves, to collect against the trunk of a tree. This is a good hiding place for insects and fungi which mean your tree no good. If you have the space, they would be good ingredients for composting, but even then, compost should be used as a soil additive, not allowed to pile up again a tree trunk.

 

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