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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

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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Chelsea, MI
Butterfly plants for area over septic system drainfield
I live in Michigan and have purchased a house with a septic system. I hate to mow grass AND to waste all that area over the drain field with mere turf. I also enjoy attracting butterflies. what are...
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Chelsea, MI
Texas native wildflowers viable in Michigan
Can you tell me what wildflowers native to Texas would also thrive in Michigan?? I'd like to surprise a "transplant".
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Stockbridge , MI
Thorny shrub to use as a barrier in Michigan
What shrub/bush/tree would you recommend that grows fast, very thorny to act as a very strong deterrent/barrier that gets at least 4' tall? It would be in an open yet removed area from foot traffic ...
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Ann Arbor, MI
Learning to identify wild plants in Michigan
I am trying to learn more about Michigan wildplants by taking one sample home each time I take my dog on a walk. We walk in fields, woods and wetlands in Ann Arbor. Today I found several Jack-in-the-P...
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Ann Arbor, MI
Small Shrub for a Foundation Planting in Michigan
I need a small, native, perennial shrub for a foundation planting in Michigan.
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Mount Pleasant , MI
Viewing times for wildflowers from Ouchitas to Austin
I'm a geographer and wildflower enthusiast considering a spring visit to the Austin area and want to find out the best time to view wildflowers and farm crops around Austin and also on the drive from...
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Jackson, MI
Moving a large red horse chestnut tree in Jackson MI
I have a red horse chestnut that is maybe 12 inches around, can I move it after the sap goes down about 10 miles to our new place? Sadly, I cannot afford to hire a tree truck. What are its chances?
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Jackson, MI
Identification of tree bought from a magazine ad
I recently submitted the following question to Ask An Expert. They were unable to identify the plant. I hope you will be able to. Can you help me by either identifying this plant or advising me a...
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Jackson , MI
Tulip tree with white spots on leaves in Mississippi
I have a tulip tree in my yard that blooms in the spring that is about 10-15 years old. However just this past week or so we have noticed that there is lots of white spots on the leaves and the branc...
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Jackson, MI
Groundcover plants for slope to prevent erosion
Hi, I have just made a 3/4 acre pond and the south facing slope is too steep to mow.Can you suggest any ground cover plants I could use to look nice and prevent erosion.
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Ypsilanti, MI
Plants that might absorb moisture from air
I am searching for a plant that will reduce the relative humidity of a building. I work for a manufacturing company that is experiencing problems with water condensing on ceilings and equipment due t...
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Ypsilanti, MI
Sources of information on native plants iin Ypsilanti, Michigan area
Hello, I am a scout with Troop 243. I am interested in knowing if you have information available to give me regarding the Native Plants that have been discovered in the Ypsilanti, Michigan area. I n...
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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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Mason, MI
Drainage pond plantings from Mason MI
We have a drainage pond in our back yard. It has a large muddy bank and some steep sides where erosion has started to take its toll. We are looking for some Michigan/Mid-Western native plants that w...
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Milford, MI
Native alternative to tulips from Milford MI
What could be a good alternative to tulips? I have not seen a native plant quite like a tulip (except a tulip tree). A good alternative should bloom in April or May and have showy flowers. I searched...
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Milford, MI
Deer-resistant, shade tolerant evergreens for privacy in Milford MI
I'm looking for deer resistant evergreens that will be planted in the shade. I need the evergreens to hide an area I don't want to see from my home. Hence, they need to go tall. Can you give me a r...
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Canton, MI
Hardy shrub for Canton, MI
I have an 8' x 8' area between my front walk and driveway. I am interested in filling up the space (especially in height) with a shrub or tree. This area gets a lot of wind in the cold MI winter,...
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Canton, MI
Identification of red leaf tree with wispy, feathery plumes on top
I am looking for the name of a red leaf shrub/small tree that has feather like, wispy plumes which grow out of the top most branches. I do not have a photo. I live in Canton, MI.
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Canton, MI
Pruning non-native razzmatazz rose from Canton MI
I have 5 "hardy" rosebushes called "Razzamatazz" which are about 3 years old. I don't know how to prune them properly. I do cut the dead bloom back just before the "leaf of 5", which seems to...
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Canton, MI
Pruning of non-native weigela and roses
I have a Red Prince wiegala (spelling?) and while most of the branches have leaves and red flowers, there are some branches that never produced any leaves or flowers. Should I prune them? If so, can...
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Canton, MI
Shrub that does not attract birds in Michigan
Does a "Center Glow" ninebark have seeds? I want a shrub that does NOT attract birds!
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