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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

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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

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Lufkin, TX
Are berries of coral honeysuckle edible from Lufkin TX
Are the berries of coral honeysuckle edible?
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Nacogdoches, TX
Eliminating weeds from seeded wildflower stands
We live in Eastern Central Texas in a small community on Texas Highway 7. Last fall, we went to the Wildseed Flower Farm near Fredricksburg and purchased a bag of mixed wildflower seeds and planted...
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Nacogdoches, TX
Native groundcover for sun in East Texas
I am hoping you can advise me on a native, flowering, fast growing groundcover that would thrive in full sun, with some shady areas under a couple camellia trees. I live in Nacogdoches and have sandy...
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Nacogdoches, TX
When will bluebonnets bloom in Texas this year from Nacogdoches, TX
When can we expect to see bluebonnets blooming in Texas this year?
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Nacogdoches, TX
Plant identification
My neighbor has a few trees in his pasture that his horses love to eat the fruit off of. The fruit looks like a lemon but smaller and has lots of seeds inside of it. The trees have very long thorns on...
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Broaddus, TX
Lace Bugs on Lantana
All my lantana bushes are suffering from severe lace bug infestation. The lace bugs have been seen via microscope as well exoskeletons and poop. The buds are destroyed and I have no flowers for hummin...
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Broaddus, TX
Native plants for birds and butterflies
We have a home on Lake Sam Rayburn and in the process of putting in some plants and shrubs around our new home. I would like them to be native to the area and attract birds, butterflies and hummingbir...
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Chester, TX
Difference between white and red berried versions of Callicarpa americana
I have seen many American Beautyberry Bushes [Callicarpa americana] but it was not until I moved into the Big Thicket region that I had ever seen a white berried one. There is no difference botanicall...
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Groveton, TX
Plants to prevent erosion on slope in Texas
We have an erosion problem developing on the low side of a gently sloping hill. We are in clay soil at the base of the hill with oaks and pines. We have a right of way that is without trees forty fee...
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San Augustine, TX
Native plants for East Texas school gardens
I am a teacher in San Augustine, Texas (which is in the Eastern Pineywoods region). I have started an outdoor classroom/schoolyard habitat at our school. We are in the process of planning our plant ...
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San Augustine, TX
Looking for fruit and nut trees to plant in San Augustine, TX
I am setting up residence in San Augustine, Texas on approximately 9 acres of land. We wanted to plant a few of each type of fruit and nut trees that would prosper in the area (for wildlife and for o...
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Rusk, TX
Yellowing branches on non-native sago palms after freeze in Rusk TX
My Sago Palms experienced a good freeze. Now they have a multitude of yellowing branches, in fact most of the plant is yellow. Please advise what to do to save my plants. They are about nine years ...
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Rusk, TX
Propagation of Prunus Mexicana in Rusk TX
How do you scarify seeds from the Prunus Mexicana? Can the branches be made to grow roots?
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Rusk, TX
Affect of poisonous plant roots in soils for vegetables from Rusk TX
I have a huge old flowerbed in front of my house that I want to plant veggies in, but I'm afraid to. It has a catalpa tree there, which I sell the worms from, but the entire tree (bark, leaves, flowe...
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Onalaska, TX
Freeze-back of Hamelia patens in winter in Texas
Will the hamelia patens freeze back in the winter ?
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Onalaska, TX
Bloom time for Opuntia engelmannii
We are planing a trip to West Texas, El Paso area, in March and can't remember when the prickly pear cactus are in bloom. Can you help!
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Crockett, TX
Native evergreens for privacy in Crockett, TX
I need advice on what tall evergreens I can plant along a fence line for privacy. I need trees that will be at minimum 8 to 10 feet tall at maturity, are aesthetically pleasing and provide privacy. ...
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Crockett, TX
Should I top my scraggly magnolia tree? No
Mr.Smarty Plants, I live in Crockett,Tx. My husband and I just bought this house. In the front yard I have a very tall,scraggly magnolia tree due to trees growing up around it. We have cut some of tho...
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Crockett, TX
Retailers of possumhaw
How can I find retailers of possumhaw (Ilex decidua)?
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Pineland, TX
Identify red-flowering vine in E. Texas
Beside a well on an old homestead in Deep East Texas, there is a delicate vine. The leaves are heart shaped with points all the way around. The flower is a bright red trumpet shaped. I saw an angel ...
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Livingston, TX
Problems with Savannah holly from Livingston TX
Our Savannah Holly standards, planted in spring 2012, are now 10' tall, with 2-3" caliper trunks at the base. Some are in decline or have died. We thought the ribbons holding them to the nursery's ...
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