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

Friday - December 07, 2007

From: Wimberley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch
Title: Shredded hardwood for mulch
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I intend to landscape a section of my new property. but want to wait until the cold weather has passed. I have pets that will be contained within a fenced-in area that has some wild grasses but also large sections of dirt. I had some cedars and a few live oaks (with consideration to oak wilt concerns) taken out and put through a chipper. Would it be a good idea to spread that mulch on the areas of dirt until I can landscape? Or would another material be better?

ANSWER:

Ooh, lucky you. You have the very thing you need for mulching, and you don't have to pay for it. Well, probably you paid to have it chipped, but anyway. If you go to a nursery and look at bagged mulches, you'll notice that some of the best are called "shredded hardwood," which is what you have. They will make a super mulch while you prepare to landscape, and should be easy on your pets' feet. And the nicest thing about that mulch is that it will continue to decompose, and can be turned into the soil as an enrichment, or smoothed back over the roots of the new plants as you put them in. The only time you will need to scrape it away is if you are planting seeds directly into the ground. The seeds need sunlight to sprout. Of course, the weeds will also be delighted to sprout when you scrape away the mulch, but you can't have everything. This Natural Resources Conservation Service website will give you all kinds of good information on what to use and how to use it as mulch.

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Care in planting native Shumard oaks
April 16, 2008 - I am going to plant 3 shumard red oaks on the west side of my property. The land is basically rocky. What should I put in the holes to help the tree grow?
view the full question and answer

Do leaves with tannins make good compost from Austin
November 04, 2010 - I have a couple of old native pecan trees in my (or neighbor's) yard that drop bushels and bushels of leaves every fall. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a recollection that pecan leaves have...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting a Texas redbud sapling
July 27, 2008 - I've just discovered a Texas red bud sapling (baby tree)that decided to grow next to our fire pit. Although there's no reason for us to sit around the campfire in 100 degree weather, I would like to...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen tree for planter in Sherman Oaks CA
November 11, 2010 - We have a large cinder block planter, 6ftx6ftx6ft,in the back of our building and would love to find a good evergreen accent tree (but not pine like). Planter is near a building so preferable it shoul...
view the full question and answer

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