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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers Nan Hampton, Jimmy Mills and Barbara Medford to be the culpable and capable parties. Yet, others think staff members Damon Waitt, Joe Marcus and Philip Hawkins might 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

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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Questions From Near You

San Clemente, CA
Trees & shrubs, low water, no maintenance, disease & pest resistant
We need few Trees and shrubs to meet the following needs: - Low Water or best with a taproot for Ground Water - Clay Soil in Steep Slopes (25-40 degrees) - Low or No Maintenance. (hillside, no trim...
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Laguna Niguel, CA
Evergreen tree for Southern California coast
I need a tree that is evergreen, non invasive roots that is not messy that can be kept at around 20 feet. We are at the edge of the thermal layer from the ocean. Thanks.
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Laguna Hills, CA
Ground cover for Orange County, California
What ground cover do you suggest for an Orange Co., CA, backyard with a steep slope in 3-4 hours of sun? Needs to grow fast to beat the weeds. Something pretty would be nice! Thanks
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Lake Forest, CA
Small to medium drought-tolerant trees for Southern California
I am looking for drought tolerant trees to line one side of our 70 foot driveway. We live in Southern California. Currently, we have queen palms, but I would like something more native or drought to...
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Trabuco Canyon, CA
Fast-growing tree for horse arena in Southern California
I live in Trabuco Canyon, CA, and we just lost an old Sycamore in our horse arena. I would like to replace it with some thing that is fast growing, and will be able to withstand life around horses, o...
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Irvine , CA
Getting a senna to fill out from Irvine CA
I have a Senna of some kind, started from a seed by a friend. I got it as a small,six in high) seedling. After two years it is now blooming beautifully, but is a single thin stem 4 feet tall with ve...
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irvine, CA
Evergreen trees for a Southern California yard
Hello I live in Irvine, CA and I am looking for a tree for our front yard. We recently planted oaks but they did not survive the clay soil. Our landscaper wants to replace them with oaks or with ...
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Fallbrook, CA
Season to plant Pacific Wax Myrtle from Fallbrook CA
Would like to know which season would be the best to plant Pacific Wax Myrtle in Fallbrook, CA area? I presently have invading bamboo, which I want to get rid of. Thank you!
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Oceanside, CA
Are berries from the Carrot Wood Tree toxic to animals?
Hello, I am trying to find out if the berries on the carrot wood tree are toxic to animals - dog?
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Oceanside, CA
Native plants to go between patio stones in Oceanside CA
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants! I live in Oceanside CA about 5 mi from the coast and have an about 20' sq private patio with "issues". Patio has with flagstones, one side all sun all day, middle area part...
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Oceanside, CA
Effect of herbicides on frogs
I live in a planned development adjacent to a natural waterway that contains native and non native plants. It also is an amphibian habitat with many frogs. The landscape manager has sprayed the ar...
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Oceanside, CA
Privacy screen for pool in California
Hi, We have new neighbors overlooking our pool and peering into our house. We want to put up a privacy screen along our back fence that runs the length of the pool, but the border running along the ...
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Newport Beach, CA
Relocating native oak trees in compacted soil
Can you replant and relocate small oak trees in compacted soil and will they grow or go into shock?
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Wildomar, CA
Red spots on white flower of Anemopsis californica
Do you know what the red spots are on the white flower of the California native, Anemopsis californica? Is it a fungus, insect, or just physiological?
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Costa Mesa, CA
Tree with tap root for small area
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I'm looking for a tree with a tap root to plant for shade on the side of my patio. i have about a 4 foot area to plant in and it's 8 feet to my neighbors house. ..maybe somet...
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Carlsbad, CA
Shrubs to stabilize steep slope in California
Suggest shrubs to stabilize steep bank that are drought resistant and resistant to too much rain. Cape honeysuckle? oleander? bottle brush? What?
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Carlsbad, CA
Identification of tree in California
A medium-size tree with shiny green leaves toward the bottom and garnet red ones toward the top of the tree. The leaves are narrow with saw-toothed edges. There are clustered small white flowers with ...
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Carlsbad, CA
Fast growing non-invasive flowering tree from Carlsbad CA
Looking for fast growing flowering tree with non-invasive roots.
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Bonsall, CA
Groundcover for Bonsall, CA
I live in Bonsall, CA. (San Diego) I have 3 acres, flat and sloped that are graded dirt. (DG and sheep poop from previous owner). It is getting close to mud season and I'd like to plant winter cover...
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Murrieta, CA
Selection of shade tree and distance from house
I live in California in zone 8b. I have seen the lists of trees for my area. I am still not clear on what tree to select. I would like to plant a nice tall shady tree very close to my house, but I wan...
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Murrieta, CA
Will arctostaphylos grow in Austin, from Murrieta CA
I currently live in Murrieta, CA at 2,000 ft. We planted 800 native plants on our slopes so they were extremely drought tolerant. One of my favorites is the Arctostaphylos family that will take the fr...
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