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?

Share

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

Friday - January 05, 2007

From: Boerne, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Use of newspaper mulch in garden
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Before constructing a raised garden, I would like to lay newspapers at the initial ground level, then add about 12 to 15 inches of compost on top of that. Would that hurt the plants? And will the newspaper help to keep weeds below it from sprouting?

ANSWER:

Newspapers are often used by gardeners to inhibit weed growth. In fact, some would say that the greatest value of many newspapers are as mulch, birdcage liners and fish wrappers, though we'll leave those assertions to others.

Newspaper is normally laid down on the soil surface or lightly covered with soil. Several layers work best to inhibit weeds. More troublesome weeds will require more layers of newspaper.

Placing newspapers 12 to 15 inches below the soil surface is likely to have little effect on weeds since most weed seeds sprout only when at or near the soil surface. Moreover, a thick layer of newspaper below your raised beds could have an adverse effect on drainage and soil moisture management. Here is an interesting and perhaps useful article on newspaper mulch.

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Removal of invasive horsetail in Shelby Township, MI
June 19, 2009 - Please help me or direct me to who may be able to help. I have horsetail (Equisetum) invading my Blue Rug Juniper. Please tell me what I can use to get rid of the horsetail (Equisetum) without killi...
view the full question and answer

Could ammonia harm poisonous, non-native oleander in Bay Point CA
December 20, 2009 - Could ammonia harm my Oleander plant? I have been spraying ammonia under it to keep neighborhood cats from using the soil under the plant as a sand box. If so, do you have any suggestions as to what...
view the full question and answer

Interaction of Habiturf and St. Augustine grasses from Willow City TX
April 16, 2012 - How does Habiturf and St. Augustine interact? Does one dominate the other? Can you plant them in close areas? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Xeriscape demonstration garden
October 30, 2007 - I am working with the city of Schertz to rejuvenate a xeriscape demonstration garden. We want to plant a hummingbird/butterfly garden using native plants. The current bed is currently overrun with ber...
view the full question and answer

Decline ot Heartleaf rosemallow from Austin
March 26, 2012 - My tulipan del monte -a new small plant from the wildflower center--did great all winter and was forming a new flower bud, just died in a matter of a few days. It looks like it "dried up", no visib...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center