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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tujunga, CA
Groundcover for clay soil in Southern California
I live in Southern California and have hard packed clay soil in my yard. Could you recommend ground cover that would be green, low to the ground, require little water and survive in clay? I can't a...
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Montrose, CA
Christmas decorations on a live oak in Montrose CA
Is it OK to put Christmas lights and decorations on a live oak?
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Burbank, CA
Source of non-native Cutweed from Burbank CA
Where to find Cutweed in southern California? If not, which nursery sell cutweed? or any cutweed powder to buy?
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Burbank, CA
Native trees for shade in Burbank, CA
I need a few ideas for a non-deciduous (or nearly non-deciduous)tree that grows fast and will provide shade. Shade need not be total. Chinese Elms come to mind but I'm not sure of the growth rate. ...
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Burbank, CA
Native vegetation of Burbank, CA
What is the native vegetation of Burbank, CA?
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Toluca Lake, CA
Problems with non-native Carrotwood tree in Toluca Lake CA
My Carrotwood tree leaves are turning yellow and curling down, Why? Also due to a bad trim, the outer limbs are dying. Can you tell me what is wrong? It is an old tree and I would like to save it!
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Studio City,, CA
Plants for steep slope in California
Where do I find out about the specific root structure of various California native plants? Are there shrubs that have tap roots & hence are good for steep slopes? The genus of any such plants that y...
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Studio City, CA
Eliminating and replacing Tradescantia species
Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I need advice. I recently figured out my 10 month old dog is highly allergic to Tradescantia sp, commonly known as the Spiderworts, and "Wandering Jew" which covers about h...
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Sherman Oaks, CA
Evergreen tree for planter in Sherman Oaks CA
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...
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Altadena, CA
Will Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) be toxic to chickens?
We are considering planting Carolina Cherry Laurels around our yard for dense hedging purposes. We are concerned because we have a small flock of free-ranging chickens who eat every seed and leaf in ...
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Altadena, CA
Smarty Plants on Ebenopsis
Why is the Texas Ebony, genus Pithecolobium, not in your database? Is it not a native? Thanks.
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Van Nuys, CA
Identification of spiny plant in Yucca Mesa, CA
I have a very prickly bush on my property near Yucca Mesa, CA, (high desert). 2 to 3 feet high. Branches mostly starting from the center near ground. Lots of 1 to 2 inch spines on branches. Dormant in...
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Pasadena, CA
Trees resistant to Armillaria mellea, root fungus
We had to bring down a 200 year old oak which root system was compromised by Armillaria mellea. We were told the fungus is still present in the soil & it's advisable to plant a resistant species. W...
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Pasadena, CA
Groundcover for parking strip in Pasadena, California
Can you suggest a low growing, low maintenance plant which will spread to cover parking strip in Pasadena, California? Thank you.
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Pasadena, CA
Alternative to grass as groundcover in area used by dog
I am looking for a beautiful groundcover to use instead of grass which need to be soft and animal friendly. My dog is in the yard a lot and she's 10 yrs old. I am looking for a groundcover which wi...
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Pasadena, CA
Non-native creeping fig
I like the creeping fig that covers my brick wall but the roots are very invasive and are choking my rose bushes and other surrounding plants. I spent two days removing the roots and loosening the so...
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Pasadena, CA
Evergreen vine for wall in Pasadena CA
Hi, I am looking for an evergreen vine to cover my block wall. I saw star jasmine kept really flowing and wild and loved it but I don't like the way it will look when It blooms. I want a vine that ...
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Granada Hills, CA
Trimming back Agave havardiana
Hi.. thanks for all the great information on Agaves. We have a number of Agave Havardiana (blue) that love where we planted them. Several have gotten HUGE. So much so that they are starting to ge...
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South Pasadena, CA
Erosion control for edge of artificial lake in California
How about erosion control at the edge of an artificial lake in Southern California? Juncus and ..?
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Beverly Hills, CA
Smoketree not flowering in Beverly Hills CA
Why is my Smoke tree not flowering? It is big and the leaves are beautiful but no blooms.
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Los Angeles, CA
Tree with no invasive roots for Los Angeles
I have a large in ground planter sharing the outside wall (on south/east corner) of my house in east LA 90032. I would like to find a tree that grows quite tall (2 story building), but grows roots ver...
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