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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Iron Bridge, ON
Seasoning oak for burning
I have an oak on my property that has been dead for at least two years. It has produced no leaves. When I cut it down (it was 93 inches around), it looked extremely healthy. We split it up and my f...
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Pickford, MI
Would mountain ash (Sorbus sp.) grow in Michigan?
I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan between Cedarville (Lake Huron) and Sault Ste. Marie (Lake Superior.) We would like to plant a Mountian Ash because we love birds and they love the berries an...
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Sault Ste Marie, MI
Information on Royal Empress tree
Would like to have some information on the royal empress tree; it is a non-native tree.
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Rogers City, MI
Need pruning advice in northern Michigan
Is it OK to prune my evergreen bushes and holly in October in northern Michigan?
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Posen, MI
Identification of wild shrub in Michigan
I have what appears to be a wild shrub that I want to identify. It has green foliage and is bush-like. It is about 10' tall. This fall I noticed light red berries and thorns..after cutting it down...
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Cheboygan, MI
Native plants for memorial garden in Michigan
I want to start a memorial garden for my daughter. I live in northern Michigan and the area has very tall white pines we have pruned them up about 15' so the area does get partial sun. Which plants w...
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Saint Ignace, MI
Availability of Michigan Holly berries in Northern Michigan
I live in Northern Michigan, and am new in the wreath making business. Last year I found Michigan Holly berries and used them for my wreaths. They have the most beautiful berries I have ever seen, a...
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Alpena, MI
Inadvisability of introducing American Beautyberry to Michigan
I recently brought back to Michigan from Florida 2 young beauty berry plants. I currently have them in a pot inside my home. They are growing quite well, and show a hearty appearance. What are th...
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Indian River, MI
Looking for a source of bracken fern seed.
I`m looking to buy "bracken fern"seed. Or can it be transplanted from the wild?
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Johannesburg, MI
Trillium phototropism
I'm SURE you haven't had this question before. I live in northern Michigan in a wooded subdivision where we have clouds of wild grandiflorum trilliums growing in the woods on either side of the roa...
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Lewiston, MI
Identity of a pink-flowering bush with flowers like sweet peas
I have found a pink flowering small tree / bush that has picky branches kind of looks like sweet pea flowers and the leaves kind of look like shumac. Growing near the thick woods of northern MI
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Harrisville, MI
Planting under Walnut Trees in Harrisville, MI.
I have 2 50+ yr old Black Walnut trees in Northern Michigan (zone 4). I am planting a new bed (raised of course) and was considering adding a hydrangea. I am curious if this will thrive due to the jug...
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Engadine, MI
Spots on bark of Mountain Ash from Engadine MI
I have a mountain ash that is about 5 years old & have just noticed white, patchy, scaly looking spots on the bark. Is this something to be concerned about???
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ELMIRA, MI
Evergreen privacy hedge and drought-resistant garden
I am looking for a hardy evergreen hedge for privacy in Northern Michigan. I have sandy soil. Also am interested in planting a drought garden with mostly sun in same sandy soil.
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Mikado, MI
Possible identification of Physocarpus opulifolius
Can you please tell me what kind of tree has a maple leaf and a white snowball flower?The young and very small tree was already here when i bought my home,it stands only 7 feet tall with a 2 inch t...
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Rose City, MI
Identification of poisonous shrub native to Michigan
This is found throughout the northern portion of the LP and in the UP. It grows to 3' as a shrub. It's leaves twigs and flowers ARE POISONOUS! It blooms in the Spring and can be found in the sun and...
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Kewadin, MI
Deer resistant low-lying plants for Michigan
I want to create a bed of low lying plants (under 4 ft.)in the front of my cottage. The soil is completely sandy and gets eastern sun in the AM. There are many deer in the area.
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Rapid City, MI
Invasive, non-native Cirsium arvense in Michigan
I have identified that I have growing abundantly "Canada Thistle";the noxious and invasive. I know this to be true because where it grows nothing else grows; not even the native weeds. I want to get...
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Elk Rapids, MI
Ground cover for roadside in Elk Rapids MI
Elk Rapids, MI (Lake Michigan, East Grand Traverse Bay) Greetings – We are looking for a native ground cover that will cover an area along a roadside, about 100 feet from the Lake Michigan shorelin...
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Southampton, ON
Non-native gardenias in Southampton Ontario
I purchased 3 gardenias this year for the garden. Now I'm told that I can't leave them out all year round here in mid/western Ontario. Is this true, and if so, how do I keep them over the winter i...
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Port Austin, MI
Madrones in Michigan?
Will a Arbutus menziesii (Pursh Pacific madrone) grow in Huron County Michigan? I'm at the "tip of Michigan's thumb".
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