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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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Questions From Near You

Morgan Hill, CA
Problems with non-native Potato vine from Morgan Hill CA
Greetings from Morgan Hill. CA. I have moved into a home that has a fairly mature (10 years +/-) Potato Tree which has some blue/purple flowers but very few new leaves, it looks almost barren. It gets...
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Morgan Hill , CA
What is causing leaf drop on oak in Morgan Hill CA?
Dear Mr Smarty Plants: We have a large, young Valley Oak (about 20 yrs) which is dropping leaves even now in early summer. I have a feeling that the problem might be an invasive weed that is flourishi...
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Gilroy, CA
Getting rid of algae on dirt and patio
Algae and on patio and dirt, and how to get rid of same?
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Gilroy, CA
Moving potted plants from California to Georgetown TX
Hi, I am moving from Gilroy CA to Georgetown TX, I have many potted plants I would love to take with me but I am not sure what would survive in my new location. These plants have been cared for so ma...
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Gilroy, CA
Drought tolerant plants for Gilroy, California
We live in Gilroy, CA. We want to plant drought tolerant plants native to our area. We already have native sycamores and oak trees, manzanita and snowberry shrubs, and we have a list of local wildflow...
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Aptos, CA
Shrub for privacy screen
Hi, We live in Aptos near the ocean. However, what you suggest to plant near our fence to screen out the one story house behind us. They have a large tree near in their backyard that sits against our...
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San Jose, CA
Non-invasive, native vines for flood wall in San Jose CA
I was hoping you could help me with some information on vine selection. I am interested in selecting three vines for a flood wall application. Non-native species are acceptable, so long as they’re no...
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San Jose, CA
California native bunch grasses good for erosion control
In response to your answer about deep rooted native plants good for erosion control, don't forget to include native bunchgrasses. here in California, our bunchgrasses have roots that go 10ft, 20ft de...
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San Jose, CA
Problems with non-native Chinese pistache tree in San Jose CA
We have a Chinese Pistache tree that is between 25 and 30 years-old. Over the past couple years, we have observed more and more branches dying. They turn black, and remain leafless in the spring, when...
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San Jose, CA
Can I trim back my 20 ft Yucca plant?
I have a yucca tree which is about 20 ft. tall, has four main trunks. I would like to prune it to approx. 10 ft. but wonder if that will kill it or if new shoots will come out up near the cut.
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San Jose, CA
Allowing oak leaves to pile up at base of tree from San Jose CA
Greetings, Is it a good idea to allow oak leaves to pile up at the base of our California live oak? Will that cause fungus, mold and rot that hurts the tree? Thanks for your advice.
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San Jose, CA
Problems with non-native orchid
I have vanda sanderiana that has wrinkled and yellowing leaves.They are located outdoors, northeast section, plenty of morning direct light and still bright even when the sun is at 3:00 oclock.I water...
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San Jose, CA
Drought Tolerant Shrubs and Perennials in San Jose, CA
Hello I am a SLT home owner in San Jose, Ca. and want to plant drought tolerant shrubs and perennials. We don't have irrigation but plan to put a timer on a nozzle and run some lines. At least I am t...
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San Jose, CA
Plant identification of tree with strawberry-like fruit
On my walk home from work i noticed a red berry i had never seen before. It is soft like a strawberry, bumpy all over but the bumps are not individual as a raspberry has. It grows on a tall bush (very...
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San Jose, CA
Fast-growing tree, non-toxic for horses, in Northern California
Hello..I need to find a fast growing shade tree, native to California (I live in Northern California, south of San Francisco) that would be safe next to (but not in) my horses paddock. Obviously some...
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San Jose, CA
Trees for small spaces from San Jose CA
What tree can you plant in a corner of a yard 3ft from a fence? What is the best shade tree for a small yard with a pool?
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Los Gatos, CA
Growth on miniature palm in Los Gatos. CA
I think that my miniature palm is infested with some sort of bug or fungus. Last night it looked fine but this morning there was a large bright yellow fuzzy looking growth on the trunk. Any input wo...
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Los Gatos, CA
Plants for under a fountain splash line in California
What plants should we plant under our fountain's splash line in our Mediterranean style courtyard? The area will get wet from the fountain's splashing and have "full" sun. We are on a rock ridge...
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Soquel, CA
Solution for erosion on steep slope in California
Dear Mr.Smarty Plants, I have a serious hillside problem in Santa Cruz County resulting from the recent deluge of rain. Steep to sheer now with no plants left on it after the hill slide washed to th...
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Soquel, CA
Why are our Euphorbia myrsinites plants dying in Soquel, CA?
Some of our Euphorbia myrsinites die in our garden for reasons we cannot understand. Do you have any explanation or suggest area we should be looking for?
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San Jose , CA
Tree or shrub with non-invasive roots from San Jose CA
I am looking for a small tree/ large shrub (non higher than a one story roof) with non-invasive roots to replace a 25 foot cedar. It is in a small area (5x 7) bordered to the side by a driveway...
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