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?


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

Sunday - January 22, 2012

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Spreading compost from Kyle TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


I'm trying to find if there is some type of "implement" to help spread compost in my yard that is easier than a shovel and rake. Any ideas?


Speaking from considerable personal experience with compost, this particular member of the Mr. Smarty Plants Team has some suggestions:

For openers, drag or push it as little as possible, especially over plants that could be uprooted by dragging equipment of any kind. Our favorite tool is a rake used tines side up, so that you are spreading without the spikes coming in contact with the plant. The second tool is what we have always called a "lawn broom." Sometimes we see small ones referred to as "shrub rakes," because they are narrow and can be used to work under shrubbery. They have long tines, spread out and without a pulling edge on them like rakes. The plastic ones are gentler on plants.

As much as you can, deliver compost close to an area you wish to cover, using a wheelbarrow or even large scoops. The less distance you have to pull compost, the better. We tried to find something online with illustrations of what we are talking about, but they all seemed to be heavily into shovels. Just take a trip into the lawn and garden department of hardware or home improvement stores, and hopefully you will see a tool that will work better for you.


More Compost and Mulch Questions

Getting rid of algae on dirt and patio
January 12, 2011 - Algae and on patio and dirt, and how to get rid of same?
view the full question and answer

Non-native, invasive creeping fig in Webster TX
May 26, 2013 - We've recently moved into a new home in the southeast Houston area. The back of our property has a long concrete wall (gets quite a bit of sun), which we thought we could cover with a spreading vine....
view the full question and answer

Native grass lawn for San Antonio
June 25, 2011 - Dear Mr Smartyplants, I live outside of San Antonio and my question is in regards to putting in a native grass lawn. What type of soil should I put down? I've sprayed herbicide and was planning on ...
view the full question and answer

Newly planted magnolia in Hedron NE
September 19, 2010 - We planted a Magnolia stellata 'Royal Star' in our landscape about 2 weeks ago. It is approx 7' tall. My question is should the leaves on it all be turning brown and crisp already or are doing some...
view the full question and answer

Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
August 16, 2009 - Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center