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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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Saginaw, MI
Growth of yucca from seed pods from Saginaw MI
How do you grow a yucca plant from the pods? Do I need to dry out the pods first?
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Saginaw, MI
Identification of Cercis canadensis or Cornus florida
I have what I think is a dogwood tree of some sort but I'm not sure. I wondered if I sent you a picture you could identify it. So far no one has. It's different because of its branches. They are red...
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Midland, MI
Evergreens for a deer corridor in MI
I am growing three rows of evergreens for a wildlife, deer travel corridor, and am looking for which trees grow well together and are shade tolerant of each other when planted at the same time, or at ...
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Flushing, MI
Fertilizing a Mature Mountain Ash
What kind of fertilizer should I use on a mountain ash tree that is 25 years old (or more)?
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Owosso, MI
Propagation of trumpet vine
We have a trumpet vine growing in our yard and a friend wants to grow one in her yard. Can we dry the seed pod out and use it to start a plant for next spring?
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Grand Blanc, MI
Identification of non-native wildflower
I am a painter and I need your help. When I was in Pecatonica, Illinois recently I saw a very beautiful blue colored wildflower. I was amazed by its beauty but didn't have a camera with me to take a ...
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Grand Blanc, MI
Screen and shade for pool in Michigan
We recently moved to a new home that has a pool. There is no shade nor privacy. What types of trees, plants would you recommend for our small backyard?
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Beaverton , MI
Transplanting a Dutchman's pipe in Beaverton MI
When can I transplant a full grown dutchmans pipe plant? It is growing along side of the house and it needs a bigger place to grow. This is June and the plant is in full bloom full of pipes, but need...
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Mt Pleasant, MI
Dogwood under a black walnut in Mt.Pleasant MI
Can I grow red or yellow twigged dogwood near a black walnut?
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Mt. Pleasant, MI
Plant identification
6 2 ft. spikes appeared in an infertile part of my garden. They have a huge quantity of very tiny ochid-like flowers, mostly white with pink tinge. I took it to the master gardeners here and no one co...
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Holly, MI
Blocking out noise from pond pump in Holly MI
My neighbor has a motor for his pond pump that faces my backyard--it is extremely loud and irritating after listening to it for 5 hours or more. Is there any type of shrub that I can plant to block o...
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Ortonville, MI
Identification of plant responsible for thorns in dogs' fur
Do you know of a plant or bush that has very small, very thin triangle shaped thorn? My dogs have been coming in with these in their fur and I want to get rid of the plant/bush they are coming from.
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Gladwin, MI
Plants for a pond bank in Gladwin MI
Our acre-size pond bank is sloped and high maintenance--needs mowed. We have lots of deer. We would like to plant a low-lying ground cover to eliminate mowing the bank--any suggestions?
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Oxford, MI
Deer Resistant Groundcover for lower Michigan
What ground cover is deer resistant for a sunny location in lower Michigan?
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Oxford, MI
Invasive spreading weed in Michigan that looks like a small pine tree
I have an invasive spreading weed in my gardens. It has black root system, comes up looking like a small pine tree. The green breaks off when you try to pull it.
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Oxford, MI
Deer proof ground cover for sunny area in Mississippi
I am looking for a low ground cover that will thrive in a sunny location and is deer proof
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Folwerville, MI
Are black walnut and sugar maple poisonous to alpacas
I have alpacas and wonder if black walnut or sugar maple are poisonous to them.
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Williamston, MI
Identification of tree with orange flowers in Mississippi
Saw beautiful Orange colored flowers on a tree in Jackson MI. Can't find one that is hardy in our zone. It looked to be about the size and shape of an apple tree. What could it be?
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White Lake , MI
Native plants for retention pond in Michigan
What native plants would you recommend a for a southeast Michigan retention pond perimeter? Also are there native water plants that help algae control? The pond is about 75x30 feet and ranging from ...
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Clarkston, MI
How many native trees in U.S. from Clarkson MI
Does anybody have any numbers on how many native trees there are in the entire United States?
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Clarkston, MI
Wetland Plants for Michigan
I have an area on my wooded property with a wetland marsh area that often puddles with water along the perimeter in the spring. It is very shaded and wet but I wanted to camouflage the perimeter of t...
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