Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
1 rating

Tuesday - July 31, 2007

From: South Paris, ME
Region: Northeast
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Appropriate mulch for strawberries in Maine
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Can mulch (like cedar mulch- kinds used in flower gardens) be used between rows of strawberries? Can you also suggest how far apart lupine species need to be so that they wont interbreed? Thank you! The range of your advice is staggering.

ANSWER:

While straw has been traditionally used as the mulch for strawberries -- thus the common name -- other types of mulch may be used. You should take care, though, when using landscaping mulch such as cedar shred to avoid crowding or covering the crown of the plant with it. Shredded bark is typically chock full of fungi that may attack the crowns of your strawberry plants if nestled in close contact with them. Clean straw tends to allow air to flow more freely around it and does not provide such an ideal environment for fungal attack. If you mulch heavily with bark shred, be sure and pull some of it out of the rows early in the spring so that the runners can set new plants -- they need contact with the soil.

In your area (Maine), the best mulch material is clean, fresh straw. Clean pine needles would be a second choice. When the temperatures drop to around 20 degrees F. in the fall, completely cover the plants with a thick layer of straw. Remove most of the straw in the spring, leaving some beneath the foliage of the mature plants to keep the berries off the ground and clean.

Lupines are often pollinated by honeybees, though butterflies, moths and other types of bees may visit, too. To be certain of no interbreeding you will need to locate your lupine species 1/4 mile or more apart. However, if your lupines are located on either side of your house (actually separated by the house), the chance of interbreeding is greatly diminished.

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Damaged oaks from Hurricane Ike in League City, TX
August 25, 2009 - After hurricane IKE, one of our oak trees (in front yard) was partially uprooted from the ground. We did place it back, and tie it down with supports. Further, we inserted fertilizer spikes, and give ...
view the full question and answer

Flowering evergreen shrubs for sun in Austin
August 09, 2010 - I am looking for a flowering evergreen shrubs that can take all afternoon sun(on the west side of our house. Preferably 2ft high and 2 ft wide. I had planted a few Salvia Greggii(Autumn Sage) which on...
view the full question and answer

Using non-native Red-Tip Photinia as a mulch from Pittsburg TX
March 23, 2011 - Wondering if its ok to use Red Tip Phontinia as a mulch? thanks
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs or ground cover for north-facing landscape in Ft. Worth
March 23, 2010 - Need native plant ideas for a landscaping bed against the house facing north. Already has 1 Beautyberry but two others died of root rot last year due to incredibly high water table in our area. Old ...
view the full question and answer

Older leaves yellowing on Savannah holly in Dallas
May 01, 2009 - I planted a Savannah Holly in Dallas, TX in the Fall of 2008. It has new growth and some white buds all over it, but some of the older leaves are turning yellow and dropping off. Is this normal?
view the full question and answer

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