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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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Janesville, WI
Is Mimosa pudica poisonous from Janesville WI
I have just recently learned of Mimosa Pudica also known as the sensitive plant. I see using the USDA website that it can be found in the USA so I think that covers the North America aspect. I have b...
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Beloit, WI
Best time of year to trim oak trees from Beloit WI
What is the best time of year to trim oak trees?
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Deerfield, WI
Tree with brown spots on leaves containing caterpillars
We have a new little tree we planted in our yard and I went over to admire it and on each leaf there is a brown spot in which little worms are living. They are alive and moving around in the pocket th...
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Rockford, IL
Trimming native Yucca filamentosa for winter in Illinois
I live in northern IL and I have approximately 5 yucca plants, Adams needle, my question is do I need to trim them down for winter for best growth the next year?
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Rockford,, IL
Shrub for shade in Rockford IL
I live in Rockford, IL and would like to know what kind of bush to plant in pretty much, full shade. I would prefer to stay away from evergreens due to allergies. Thanks.
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Sullivan, WI
Catalpa and maple with dying branches in Wisconsin
We have a northern catalpa in our front yard. It's been there for about three years now and is probably 25' high. This year it appeared to be doing great. It flowered and then all of sudden last ...
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Madison, WI
Halophytic biofilter plants native to Wisconsin
I am trying to design a biofilter using native WI plants. These plants must be very salt tolerant and low maintenance (as this biofilter will be used to treat storm water runoff from a salt shed), so ...
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Madison, WI
Smarty Plants on wildflowers in Wisconsin
May I have information on wildflowers in Wisconsin and how to grow them?
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Madison, WI
Law against planting cottonwood in Madison WI
I was told that there is an ordinance against planting cottonwood trees in Madison, WI. Is this true?
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Madison, WI
Vines non-poisonous to dogs from Madison WI
Are there any vines or crawlers that are non poisonous to dogs? Everything I am finding is poisonous, I want to plant some vines up a fence on their kennel run.
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Rockford, IL, IL
Native plants for wildlife gardening in Illinois
I live in Rockford, Illinois. Where/How can I find information on native flowers, plants, trees, grasses and animals, and other things I can plant on our property (about an acre) to provide a home fo...
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Burlington, WI
Identification of non-native Viburnum lantana
Could you tell me what this plant is? I have no idea! Vib Iantana Mohican - this is all the info. I have, other than it can grow in the mid-west.
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Woodstock, IL
Hedgerow to block sounds and scenes of traffic
What would make the best year round hedgerow to block the sight and sounds of traffic 60 feet from my house?
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McHenry, IL
Bluebonnets in pots in New Caney, TX
My mother in New Caney (Texas), would like to plant Bluebonnets in some lovely terra cotta containers on her porch (and will hopefully mail me some dried pressings of my beloved state flower). Other t...
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Johnsburg, IL
Propagating a new tree from a magnolia in Johnsburg IL
My friend would like to reroot her magnolia tree in her front yard to bring it with her to Memphis. The tree is huge and easiest to reroot if possible. Does she trim branches to root, or dry the seeds...
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Waukesha, WI
Transplant shock in Chestnut Oak in Waukesha WI
Bought and had nursery install a 4" diameter, 16' tall chestnut oak. Watered it as instructed-every 2nd or third day-hose stream size of my pinky for 45-60 minutes. It was planted in July. Just l...
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Huntley, IL
Plants for a shady spot in Illinois
I live in a new development in Huntley, IL. I am looking for native trees, shrubs, plants and/or flowers to plant on the North side of my house. Fairly shaded. Hopefully something attractive and co...
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Crystal Lake, IL
Types of Eragrostis lovegrasses that will survive in Northern Wisconsin
I am interested in plains lovegrass, and know that it primarily grows in southern climates. Do you think it could thrive in northern Wisconsin if it is planted in a protected area? Could it survive ...
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Crystal Lake, IL
Plants for a sandy slope at a weekend cabin in central WI.
I have a cabin in central Wisconsin where the soil is equivalent to a sandy beach. There are some areas that are nearly impossible to mow because of how steep the incline is. Could you recommend som...
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Crystal Lake, IL
Identification of plant in Illinois
I've found a plant that I cannot identify. The plant is is very short, 2 inches tall maybe, and has very fragile, thin leaves and stem. The leaves about 1" long, are pinnate, with about 20 leaflets ...
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Muskego, WI
Evergreens for privacy screen in WI
We'd like to add privacy to our backyard with evergreen trees. The problem with this area is it very wet and the ground is soft and mushy until the dry summer conditions. We've rocklined the the a...
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