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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

Pawling, NY
Fast growing groundcover for New York
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I love your site! But I can't quite find this answer: can you recommend a fast-growing groundcover native to southern NY State (Dutchess County) that I can plant NOW (Augus...
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Carmel, NY
Trees & Shrubs for a NY Slope
Our community has a large steep slope (100'high by at least 600' wide) that is sunny & dry. The builders planted "wild flower seeds" on the slope that is now just weeds. We would like to know what...
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Dover Plains, NY
Does Helasia diptera absorb toxic substances from Dover Plains NY
Dear Mr. Plants, Halesia carolina is described as absorbing toxic substances: herbicides, pesticides and pollutants from water, air and soil. Does Halesia diptera do the same? Thank you.
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Dover Plains, NY
Horse pasture seeds from Pawling NY
We are getting ready to seed an area to be used as horse pasture some time in the future. What seed mix should we use to create an organic horse pasture in Pawling, NY. Ideally there would be some wil...
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Danbury, CT
Problems with philodendron bipinnatifidum
I have a philodendron bipinnatifidum (selloum) that is now over 20 years old. It has been growing like crazy for the past 2 months, but has been inundated with pests since January, when I repotted it ...
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Danbury, CT
Native wetland plants nursery
I need to replant a disturbed wetlands area in Brookfield, CT. I have a list of plants (Sparganium americanum, sagittaria latifolia, pontederia cordata, peltandra virginica ) etc. Where to I go to o...
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Danbury, CT
Plant identification of plant with leaves like poison ivy
I would like to identify a plant whose leaves look like poison ivy, but the stem is white and has thorns. It is not thready. It was prevalent in overgrown garden beds of a house in Litchfield, CT. ...
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Danbury, CT
Help with Science Fair project from Danbury CT
Hello Mr Smarty, I was going to do my science project on weevils and their impact on milfoil. The weevils are in hibernation until spring and my project is due in mid-Feb. Any suggestions on a simil...
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Mahopac, NY
Reason for tree canopy dieback from Mahopac NY
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Not a questions, just sharing, re person in Texas whose Ash Jupiter appeared to be dying "canopy very thin on top". We moved to Putnam Co. NY in 1970. Our house was shaded by...
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Washington, CT
How to get rid of Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)
We have an enormous stand of japanese polygonum that we are trying to get rid of. What soil type is the most inhospitable to this aggressive and highly invasive species? Were thinking of planting so...
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Washington , NY
Growing non-native lettuce under artificial light from Washington NY
Which artificial light( UV LIGHT, FLUORESCENT LIGHT AND INCANDESCENT LIGHT) makes a lettuce plant grow the fastest over a time period of 3 weeks and what would be your variables( independent, dependen...
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Millbrook, NY
Shrub that will grow outside in Zone 5 from Millbrook NY
Is there any shrub, tree or other sort of plant that will grow well in zone 5 in a very large container outdoors?
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Somers, NY
Plants for shade native to New York
I am gradually trying to convert my garden to all natives. I am working in a shaded area under a maple tree. Are there any varieties of epimediums/barrenwort or hellebores that are native to the nor...
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Warren, CT
Do I need to plant a male winterberry? yes
I planted a female winterberry in early July & although I have been watering it regularly the leaves turned brown on the tips in Sept. No berries yet so will I have to plant a male? Thanks, Carol
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Newtown, CT
Deer resistant screening evergreens for CT
I live in Connecticut, in a predominantly wooded environment. I am looking for a recommendation for a great screening tree, which I can use to block a view of Neighbors behind me. It would need to b...
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Poughkeepsie, NY
Ground cover for a slope in NY
I live in New York State about 60 miles north of NYC. I have a very wide hill in the front of my house that I am just unable to keep up with. I can mow the bottom portion but using a weed trimmer fo...
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Sandy Hook, CT
Dwarf golden cypress outgrowing their space
I planted two dwarf golden cypress on opposite sides of a dwarf alberta spruce in a small bed by the front door. After 4 years I have to severely prune back the dwarf cypress in spring as they will sp...
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Sandy Hook, CT
Stabilizing a sand bank in VT
We have a summer cottage in Burlington, Vt. and need to stabilize a mound of sand. The "bank" we are trying to stabilize has partial sun and faces south. It measures approx 4' high and is 30' long...
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Beacon, NY
Shrubs growing in riparian areas of Hudson River, NY
What are the five most common native shrubs that grow in riparian areas in Hudson Valley? Interested especially in plants that grow near/along the Hudson River (as opposed to inland woodland freshwate...
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Ridgefield, CT
Identification of spiky red berry in Connecticut
I found an odd berry outside of my school, none of the science teachers know what it is though. It kind of looks like a spiked cherry. It has spikes on the outside, a pit on the insde, and has pinkish...
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Ridgefield, CT
Need help identifying a deciduous weedy shrub in Ridgefield, CT.
My overgrown property is blanketed in a deciduous weedy shrub. Its not Autumn Olive. The stems have large thorns and the shrub is comprised of many thick woody stems that, when cut have a distinctive ...
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