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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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Questions From Near You

Mattituck, NY
Ground cover for shaded sandy soil in Long Island, NY
I live on the north fork of Long Island (Zone 7) I would like to find a grass or low ground cover that will grow in shaded sandy soil. The yard has quite a few trees. It also has to stand up to modera...
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Riverhead, NY
Identification of vine in New York
I have a flowering vine that grows against my home and I'm not sure what it is, but it's beautiful with a delicate scent. The flowers look like clusters of mini purple pea pods hanging downward befo...
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Riverhead, NY
Distribution of Non-Native Royal Empress Tree
I was wondering if you could give me the statistics for the Royal Empress Tree in the Long Island area. I have two and have read numerous articles online regarding them being invasive through the root...
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Hampton Bays, NY
When to plant grasses on Long Island, NY
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants; Are there any grass seeds that I can plant NOW, early December, on Long Island, NY? The planting environment is on and near a sandy bluff on a bayshore, where it can be windy ...
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Southampton, NY
Native plants to attract migrating birds
Can you suggest native plants that would attract migrating birds? I have a very sunny location, with very sandy soil. Thanks in advance for your answer.
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Greenport, NY
How to use seaweed for mulch and fertilizer
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants,I live on the Peconic Bay, Greenport, Long Island. We have an oyster farm and lots of seaweed. I've read that seaweed was used on farms in the past as mulch (fertilizer?). ...
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Sag Harbor, NY
Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
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Sag Harbor, NY
Hedge options for Sag Harbor, New York.
Hello, My fiance and I live in Sag Harbor, NY on the East End of Long Island. We would like to plant a hedge across our yard to separate the front and back and have privacy. Here is a picture o...
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East Hampton, NY
Starting shade-tolerant ground covers in New York
Hi, I have seen some of the posts for shade-tolerant ground cover on the east end of Long Island and my question is process related. Now that I've identified the grasses/plants I need to keep my fro...
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Guilford, CT
Plants for property in Connecticut adjacent to a salt marsh
Hi - I live on property adjacent to a salt marsh. The salt marsh leads out to Long Island Sound. I would like to plant non-invasive native plants of Guilford, Connecticut. I do not know what plants ...
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Guilford, CT
Problems with non-native indoor palm in Guilford CT
My question is I have an indoor palm plant that I have had for 7 yrs. It has grown from about a 5" plant to about 3' tall plant. The past few weeks the leaves are turning yellow & brown and lost abo...
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Old Saybrook, CT
Identity of shrub with brownish flowers called cinnamon bush
When I lived in Vernon, CT, my neighbor had a small shrub/tree approximately 5 ft tall with small ovate slightly serrated leaves. In spring it produced reddish brown flowers that were of a hardened p...
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Shirley, NY
Need a tree to grow on the south shore of Long Island, NY
I live on the south shore of Long Island NY. My property is directly on Great South Bay and consists of sandy soil and beach grasses. I am wondering what trees would do well in this type of environm...
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Mastic Beach, NY
Possible fungal infection of oak trees in Mastic Beach, NY.
Sir, I have a yard full of HUGE Oaks. The one in question is about 80' tall 48" in diameter at the base. They are all well maintained fed and trimed and elevated every 3 or 4 years. About 4 years a...
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Branford, CT
Repotting of lemon cypress for drainage
Hi, I bought a lemon cypress tree in a nice tin, It is in Plastic and the bottom has about 1.5" of water with no drainage in the plastic or tin. It will be kept inside. Does the plant need to be in...
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Coram, NY
Search for Silver Magnolia from Coram NY
Hi, 20+ years ago I purchased a small tree labeled Silver Magnolia from a catalog. It was a sapling about 8 inches high when I first received it but amazing! The bloom the first year was as big as my ...
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Coram, NY
Evergreen native shrubs in Long Island, NY
I would like to plant evergreen bushes (or trees)against my house facing north with no sun and growing no taller than 4 feet high. Any suggestions? I live in Coram, Long Island, New York
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Farmingville, NY
Cupressaceae dying in Suffolk Co.NY
I have noticed that all of my Cupressaceae (& others I see in my area) are dying. They turn yellow, then rust & brown til they are everbrowns. what is going on?
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Niantic, CT
Plants that will grow on the Connecticut coast
I live on the coast in Connecticut and have a hard time growing plants here. I live about 1/2 mile from the beach and find that my soil is very rocky. The only plants that have done well in my yard ...
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West Haven, CT
Diseased cypress trees in Connecticut
Cypress trees in Connecticut browning on interior. Tips of longer limbs completely brown, single limbs dying one at a time, sap oozing out of mainstem underneath dying limb. I do not see any canker...
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New Haven, CT
Could lilacs grow in Georgia?
Hi Mr Smarty Pants, First off, I want to commend you on your promotion of native plants. I am passionately anti-invasive plants (in fact, it was the subject of my master's thesis). That being said...
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