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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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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!

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Sunday - January 22, 2012

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

QUESTION:

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?

ANSWER:

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.

 

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