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 - April 08, 2012

From: San Angelo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Shrubs
Title: Chlorosis in yaupon from San Angelo TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Thank you for your information on the yaupon holly. We just finished clearing out the mulch and the red ground cover that popped up. I will quit watering it as much as the rest of the plants. Our yard is all gravel, so I don't water the bushes often. However, the soil is sticky red dirt that turns into bedrock about two feet down. So, we'll see how it does with these adjustments and also read the article on chlorosis.


Well, you moved right ahead on that. Your shrub roots probably don't need to go down 2 feet to the bedrock, because roots tend to spread out closer to the surface for adequate gas exchange, i.e.,  carbon dioxide and oxygen. Either the lighter mulch decomposing or some compost mixed into the soil will help. It sounds like you have clay soil, which has nutrients in it but is composed of tiny particles that swell up and prevent the movement of oxygen to the roots. The roots can even drown, but if you are watering the yaupon less, that should help.


More Compost and Mulch Questions

Help with composting in Katy TX
March 19, 2010 - I've gone on line and tried to figure out what I'm doing wrong with my compost pile. What exactly is the proper ratio, and the types of plant matter and layers to achieve the optimum decomposition i...
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant plants from New Braunfels TX
August 31, 2012 - I have a 1/2 yard covered by a tree, shady. Bermuda grass previous owner planted has all turned brown this summer. I don't have lots of money to work with but would love to landscape that side of fr...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade under pine trees in Grapevine TX
May 16, 2010 - What plants are good to put under pine trees in the shade? I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area? The previous owners stuck a Japanese Maple in there that seems to be ok and some sort of holly bush (n...
view the full question and answer

Annual for poor drainage area in Temple TX
October 08, 2009 - What annual would you recommend for a bed with poor drainage for summer color ?
view the full question and answer

Conditions for growing Anacacho Orchid in Smithville TX
January 24, 2011 - What conditions (soil type, sun/shade, understory? etc.) to grow a healthy Anacacho Orchid tree? And what is the best size tree to plant?
view the full question and answer

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