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

Wednesday - May 06, 2009

From: Marble Falls, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Soils, Trees
Title: Should shredded Ashe juniper be composted for mulch?
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Our neighbor shredded some Texas Hill Country cedar trees. Can we use it safely as mulch? Do we need to wait until it composts some?

ANSWER:

We love to recommend shredded hardwood mulches, and believe your Ashe Juniper ("cedar") will be just fine without having been composted first. But we did do some research just to back this up. The consensus we got from other sources was that it smelled good, helped to repel insects, kept the soil cool and was perfectly all right uncomposted. We would recommend that you put some nitrogen fertilizer in/on the soil before you apply the mulch. An organic mulch will decompose, as if it were being composted, and gradually improve the soil texture. However, along the way, it will use some nitrogen. Your plants need nitrogen, too, so a little added nitrogen fertilizer would be a good idea. Just don't get carried away-too much nitrogen will encourage your blooming plants to NOT bloom, which is going a bit too far. Lucky you to have a free source of a good mulch.

 

More Compost and Mulch Questions

Dividing blackeyed susans in Lake Ronkoko NY
July 06, 2009 - How are you supposed to divide blackeyed susan's? And when is the best time to do this?
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping in Austin
August 24, 2009 - I am planning to convert a pretty large portion (app. 500 sq feet) of my front yard from St. Augustine to an area with native and well-adapted plants. I have solarized the area to kill off grass and ...
view the full question and answer

Ants in the compost pile from Georgetown TX
March 09, 2012 - Can you give me any suggestions for ridding my compost pile of ants?
view the full question and answer

Converting a Texas backyard to grow Xerophytic native plants
January 09, 2015 - I am planning the conversion of our backyard, about 4000 sq ft of largely St Augustine, into a grassless landscape of hardscaping and native plants. Iíve been an avid gardener of rock garden plants i...
view the full question and answer

Soil for native Chilopsis linearis and Salvia greggii
February 08, 2010 - I want to plant a desert willow and a salvia greggii in my small lot. The developer used sandy loam to fill in the small garden in the front. I am 73 and a bit impaired. Do I really need to remove ...
view the full question and answer

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