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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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Questions From Near You

La Grange Park, IL
Need help identifying a plant with lupine-like leaves in La Grange Park, IL
I encountered a plant on a level area just above a creek bed (moist soil, sun to partial sun) at one of the three largest grasslands in Illinois. The specific site looked like it may have been a burn ...
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Westchester, IL
Is a Brandywine Maple messy from Westchester IL
Brandywine Maple: Does this tree produce sap, seeds or flower? As a home owner I can't afford more maintenance with clogged gutters or a sap covered car. Thank you.
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Bellwood, IL
Bugs on Arizona Cypress in Bellwood IL
I live in Illinois and have an Arizona Cypress that looks like it is dying but I notice today it has bugs inside its cone. Can you tell me why and what can I do?
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Hinsdale, IL
Plant identification
I am trying to figure out what this plant is..It has light feathery leaves like dill. It is an annual in the midwest. Height 5-6 feet tall. Stalk is about 3 inches wide with branches that are 2 feet l...
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Hinsdale, IL
Burn the wetlands
Can the wetlands of Louisiana that have been soaked in oil be burned? I am a native plant gardener in the midwest. Burning is a natural process in the prairie. Southerners are not used to this and ma...
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Clarendon Hills, IL
Mildew in Phlox paniculata
I planted garden phlox (phlox paniculata) in my front landscaping and it is suffering from mildew. It is wet on that side due to a down spout and it may benefit from being split. Does anyone know of...
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Elmhurst, IL
Need to replace a Silver Maple in Illinois.
My father recently had a tornado take out a 50 year old silver maple. He is looking to replace it, but he is looking for something with interesting summer color; as he put it not "green." I am try...
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Elmhurst, IL
Non-blooming or fruiting Oregon grape holly in Elmhurst IL
I have an Oregon grape holly bush that has never bloomed and has never had fruit. I have had the bush for at least 6 years, it is approximately 5 ft tall. Have had no problems, just no flowers/fruit....
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River Grove, IL
Possible ground covers under pine trees in Illinois
Have pine trees in front of house. No luck with the lawn around them....was told it's because of ground acidity. Any tips on how to get a lawn to grow there? If not, can you suggest some ground cover...
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Hickory Hills, IL
Plants for Shady Clay soil in Illinois
Could you recommoned native plants for clay soil and shade near Chicago?
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Downers Grove , IL
Rust problems on Jack in the Pulpit in IL
The last 2 years I have noticed that some of my jack in the pulpit plants have something that makes me think of a copper color rust.It seems to start on the underside of the leaves. What can I do to g...
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Burbank, IL
Small flowering tree for Burbank IL
Looking for a semi-dwarf flowering tree resistant to disease and insects. Current flowering crab has fire blight. What would you suggest planting. We live in a Chicago IL suburb.
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Darien, IL
Pruning non-native oleanders
I have an oleander that has become to "leggy". I read the pruning instructions, but where I want to prune, there are not any leaf nodes. Can I trim below at the base, or will I hurt the plant? I ...
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Lombard, IL
Identifcation of flower in a bouquet
My boyfriend bought a bouquet and I'd like to know the name of the kind of green flower that looks like a mum but the petals look like rich, full grass or like a tall shag carpet. It has a stem with ...
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Oak Lawn, IL
Did my neighbor's zucchini affect my apple tree from Oak Lawn, IL
My neighbor planted zucchini plants near a flowering non-fruit producing apple tree in my yard. Soon afterwards in July the tree began to shed leaves. Could the zucchini plant have caused this?
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Palos Heights, IL
Is Viburnum opulus var. americana (Viburnum trilobum) Self-fertile?
I am trying to attract birds to my Chicago area yard and I believe I have good conditions to grow highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum). My question is about the need for cross pollination. The liter...
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Park Ridge, IL
Non-native vines poisonous to animals from Park Ridge IL
I have a Star Jasmine and sambac Philipine Jasmine Plant . Are they poisonous to cats or dogs. I have them in the house.
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Chicago, IL
Plant Identification
Hi- I am currently am AP Biology student and have two plants left to identify that I found at a lily pool in Chicago. Can you help me identify them? One I believe is a fern, the other a flower. Th...
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Chicago, IL
Getting rid of Polygonum punctatum (dotted smartweed)
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, After much online research, my property has been invaded by what I believe to be Persicaria polygonum punctata, more commonly known as dotted smartweed. I have tried hortic...
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Chicago, IL
Plant ID from Chicago
This plant is VERY common along highways across the entire midwest, and often other parts of the country. It has a long stem with a cluster of white flowers usually only on the top of the stem. The le...
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Chicago, IL
Trimming spineless yucca in Chicago
I have a spineless yucca (indoors) which is 11 feet tall and thirty-five years old. When the yucca recently started to scrape the ceiling, I moved it away (roughly 20 feet) from the windows to an area...
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