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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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Friday - March 09, 2012

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Select Region
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Pests
Title: Ants in the compost pile from Georgetown TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Can you give me any suggestions for ridding my compost pile of ants?

ANSWER:

Here is an article on Composting that answers that and several other questions. From personal experience we would say that, first, make sure you are not putting in any sugary food scraps that might be attracting them. We used potato peelings, coffee grounds, lettuce scraps (no dressing) and other items for nitrogen, but no greasy or sweet items. Our other suggestion is to get your pile as hot as you can, and the suggestion in the above article about keeping the pile wet and turning it will certainly discourage the ants. The article also mentions that they can be beneficial, bringing in fungi that encourage decomposition. Water, heat and decomposition will get you more good compost faster.

 

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