Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Monday - December 23, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Meadow Gardens, Compost and Mulch, Seeds and Seeding, Wildflowers
Title: Revegetation of school site with meadow plants from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are revegetating a hill country school site (typical calciferous soil stripped of vegetation & minimal topsoil) with a native seed mix equal to Native American Seed "Meadow Mix". We have an abundance of mulch from trees/vegetation that was removed from the site. it has aged for 1 year. After the seed is broadcast, what is the maximum depth of mulch that should be placed over the seed? Do we need to wait until spring to plant

ANSWER:

We have some really great How-To Articles that will help you with all of your project. We will start with Under Cover with Mulch. Please note particularly the last line under "Good Mulching Practices":

"Mulching inhibits all seeds growth, so leave seeds you may be trying to germinate uncovered."

We will get back to that with some other ideas on using that mulch in your project, but for now, please go to the section of How-To Articles and read all of the articles under "Large Scale Wildflower Planting," including:

Getting Started

Meadow Gardening - Under "When to Plant" in that article, take note of this statement:

"Fall is the best time to plant many native species in Central Texas."

Recreating a Prairie

Seed Collecting and Storage

Obviously, our recommended time for seeding is now past, and the mulch you have should not be spread over the seeds in any circumstances. However, that mulch is pure gold and we hate to see it wasted. Our Best of all Worlds personal recommendation would be to postpone the planting until Fall 2014. In the meantime, till some of that wonderful mulch into your minimal topsoil. Since the mulch has already aged a year, it should be in prime condition to begin loosening up and enriching that worn-out soil. It will become an integral part of a dark, rich soil that is just waiting for your seeds next October.

We believe you have all the components of a successful revegetation and reincarnation of a native meadow; just your timing is a little off. Best of luck!

 

 

 

 

 

More Seeds and Seeding Questions

Why all the acorns from Austin
November 03, 2010 - What's the explanation for the huge crop of acorns falling from my live oak trees this fall. Do you recommend I dump them in my composter or just throw them in the flower beds? Thanking you in adv...
view the full question and answer

Latest time to mow bluebonnets from Chappell Hill TX
February 13, 2014 - The past few years, my bluebonnets have been overwhelmed by tall grass. I could have solved this by mowing later, but I was always afraid of mowing new bluebonnet plants. When is the latest time I can...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Baptisia from Lancaster OH
August 24, 2012 - My Baptisia has gone to seed. When can I plant these seeds? Do they need strat? (zone 5)
view the full question and answer

Growing a Swamp Oak from Seed
July 02, 2014 - I have a swamp oak that I started from an acorn. Someone at a nursery stated that after 4 years I should cut it off at ground level and then allow one of the suckers to grow while keep removing the ot...
view the full question and answer

Wildflowers for floodplain near Denton, TX
March 22, 2015 - Hello, I am a member of my HOA board and am researching the possibility of filling in our floodplains with wildflowers. Currently the floodplains are grass only and span a few acres. Our goal is to t...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.