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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

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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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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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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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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Lansing, MI
Where to find non-native Thymus praecox coccineus
Do you know where in Lansing, MI I could buy the Walk On Me plants?
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Lansing, MI
Keeping deer away from non-native plants in Lansing MI
What is the real - best way to keep deer from eating my Hostas, Garden phlox and lilies? Ive tried the stinky spray and the fertilizer granules that deter, to no avail.
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Lansing, MI
Propagation of Jack in the Pulpit in Lansing MI
I just received some Jack in The Pulpit corms. Which way is up; does the pointy thing go up or down? Thank you.
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Lansing, MI
Need to identify a fungus in a flower garden in Lansinging, MI.
I have a fungus in my flower garden. It is white and ground hugging. It is in a moist area under a large spruce where mulch has been laid down. When I step on it , it expels a green dust. What is it a...
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Lansing, MI
Native plants for under a black walnut from Lansing MI
What native plants can you recommend that will grow in Michigan under a mature black walnut tree?
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Lansing, MI
Topmost leaves on yucca are brown
I live in the Lansing, Michigan area, in the lower peninsula and have a couple yuccas whose topmost leaves are brown emerging from winter. Do I prune those, or has the plant died? Thank you.
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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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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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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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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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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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Dimondale, MI
Mystery plant
mystery plant, multiple non-woody stems from a single base, thorns like a rose bush,leaves like poison ivy in sets of three with the top dark green underside pale green. thanks
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Highland , MI
Transplanting trilliums in dormancy in Michigan
I live in Michigan. I have a Trillium in my yard and we are having a new septic field put in. I need to know if I can save the whole plant and can I keep it in the house or do I just need the bulb a...
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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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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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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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