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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 18, 2016

From: Southlake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Using Coffee Grounds under Live Oaks in Texas?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

Can you add coffee grounds to live oak tree?

ANSWER:

Yes! In fact, Austin, Texas has a city-wide program to divert coffee grounds from the landfill and put them to work in the garden. The program, called Ground to Ground suggests incorporating the coffee grounds into the garden soil - up to 25% volume.

They say that the coffee grounds are:

  • Great immediate and slow-release source of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium.
  • Contains a range of micronutrients such as Calcium and Magnesium.
  • Slightly acidic – great for Austin’s alkaline soils!
  • A 2012 study showed that lutein, B-carotene, and chlorophylls increased in greens proportionally to the amount of grounds sown into garden soil (0 – 20%).  Biomass of harvest also increased with the addition of grounds.
  • Won’t burn plants or pollute groundwater; microorganisms love grounds!
  • Repels snails, slugs, pillbugs, and most cats.
 

From the Image Gallery


Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

Escarpment live oak
Quercus fusiformis

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February 21, 2014 - Which species of Hackberry tree is the best for wildlife in Georgetown, TX (just north of Austin)? Your Plant Database says Celtis occidentals is "among the BEST food and shelter plants for wildlife,...
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