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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Questions From Near You

Moon Twp, PA
Plants to hold a slope in Western PA
We have a hillside that keeps moving/sliding due to lack of vegetation. What kind of ground covering can we plant to help maintain and stabilize the hillside? If you need to know the climate here, we...
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mcdonald, PA
Can plants in the same genus cross-pollinate?
Can you cross-pollinate plants from the same genus?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Plants for erosion control in Pittsburgh, PA
I have a terraced high side lot(front of house). I currently have Yuccas growing, but they are too invasive. Can you suggest plants, shrubs, or ground covers that are not as invasive and will still ...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Protection of American beautyberry in Pennsylvania
I have had a beauty berry 2 years now. I trim it back in early spring and it returns beautifully. ...but no flowers this year and it's almost August. Last year, very few berries. Can you help? I...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Deer-resistant groundcover under pine trees
what kind of ground covering can be planted under pine trees (acid soil) that the deer will not eat and will not attract bees?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Deer resistant plants for Pittsburgh PA
What shrubs can I plant on a wet slope that gets partial sun that will help control erosion? They need to be something the deer won't eat! We have lots of deer.
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Pittsburgh, PA
Transplanting a Century Plant in Pennsylvania
When is the best time to transplant a Century Plant?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Cinnamon scented plant growing along Pennsylvania rivers
I've walked along both the Youghiogheny and Monongahela Rivers around my hometown and I've noticed moments at which time I would smell the strong, sweet aroma of cinnamon. Given the riverside envir...
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pittsburgh, PA
Planting for parrots
I have 2 parrots, a sun conure and a nanday conure, and I would like to find some plants to put in their aviary room that are safe for parrots. Can you help me with this question?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Propagating trees in Pennsylvania
I have been wanting to plant trees at our family camp for quite a few years now to help provide food for the wildlife during in preparation for the cold winters. As a college student, however, both f...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Ground cover for high traffic area in Pennsylvania
I am wondering if there is a Pennsylvania native turf like grass/plant that can withstand a lot of foot traffic (public area with lots of children). This will be used in a formal setting so will need ...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Non-native and/or hybridized shrubs in Pittsburg PA
I planted 2 boulevard cypress pom pom trees last year in my front yard in the clay conditioned soil. We dug the tree holds according to the planting instruction and filled some sand in the bottom for ...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Deer resistant plants for erosion control on steep hill
I would like control a steep hill behind my house that is red clay, northern exposure with little sun. What plants would you recommend that deer will not eat?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Source for a soapberry in Pittsburgh PA
Flower box Where can I buy a soapberry tree in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania?
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Pittsburgh, PA
A tree to replace a pin oak in PA
My 120 yr old pin oak has root and butt rot, 5 of 13 roots dead by pressure testing. I am in Pittsburgh PA. I want to plant a root rot resistant tree, either evergreen, fir or deciduous. The tree is 9...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Plant for deep shade in Pennsylvania
Hi! I am landscaping our house and trying to use only plants that provide seasonal benefit to bees, butterflies, birds etc. not the deer though. My question is that I have a fairly steep slope of abou...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Deer resistant plants for campground in West Virginia
We spend the summers at a campground as permanent campers. We fix up our sites to be a pleasure to spend our time smelling and see the wild life come and perch around the area. We would like to know...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Bugbane Leaf Blotch
My bugbanes (Cimicifuga/Actaea) seem to suffer from black blotches on the leaves in the summer. This happens even when they have adequate moisture. I also see it on the ones growing wild. Is this a fu...
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Pittsburgh, PA
Planting turf grass in PA
Is it too late to plant new grass in mid October in Pittsburg? Should I wait until Spring at this point?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Retention of soil on bank in Pittsburgh, PA
I have a steep bank in front of our house in Pittsburgh. We no longer want to mow this bank and wish to plant something that will spread and hold the soil. What do you recommend?
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Pittsburgh, PA
Non-floweriing vines not poisonous to dogs from Pittsburgh PA
Are there any vines or crawlers (nothing that flowers) that are non poisonous to dogs? Everything I am finding is poisonous, I want to plant some vines up a chain link fence around a swimming pool.
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