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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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Wednesday - May 12, 2010

From: Kingwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Compost and Mulch, Turf, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Pine bark on non-native St. Augustine grass in Kingwood TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I had two large Pine trees cut down. In the process of cutting the trees down there is a lot of pine bark from the tree on my St Augustine grass. Will this affect the growth of my grass?

ANSWER:

Anything that shuts off light and perhaps diverts water is going to adversely affect your grass. It could also create the opportunity for mildew diseases to attack your grass. You could rake it up and compost it, or use some of the smaller, or broken-up pieces as mulch in your flower beds. The important thing is that it not be covering up the leaves (or blades of grass) of any plant, as they need the light for photosynthesis, to continue to manufacture food for the whole plant. The pine bark will add to the acidity of the soil, so if you are trying to raise some plants that need a more alkaline soil, it might be better not to use it in your garden at all.

 

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