Rent Shop 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 Wildflowers Questions

Silphium Perfoliatum Seeds
October 06, 2014 - I am trying to identify which part of the seedhead is the actual seed of the cup plant, Silphium perfoliatum. It is hard to find images. Some show the outer, larger, flat part of the seedhead which ...
view the full question and answer

Indian Paintbrush outnumbering our Bluebonnets this year.
May 26, 2015 - We noticed we have more Indian paintbrush than bluebonnets in our front yard this year. Our issue is we also have more spear grass than normal. Is there a way to control this grass without killing th...
view the full question and answer

Blooming time for bluebonnets in Fredericksburg, TX
January 30, 2013 - Any idea of when the Bluebonnets are expected to be in bloom I Fredericksburg TX, this year?
view the full question and answer

Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
December 13, 2012 - I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Gregg's mistflower in Belton, TX
May 02, 2010 - I would like to know how to plant seeds from Gregg's mistflowers. Can the seeds be planted in the spring, and if so, do they need to be prepared first (soaked overnight, etc)?
view the full question and answer

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