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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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Houston, TX
Need help replacing a non-functioning pond in Houston, TX.
I have a non-functioning, shell-shaped, concrete pond in a shaded part of my backyard that has been a great place to grow mosquitoes since I got this place. I have decided that it is time for a chang...
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Houston, TX
Newly planted nuttall oaks from Houston TX
I recently purchased two Nuttall Oak Trees in Houston Texas (October). They are both 15' or taller. I planted them within 24 hours of being delivered, watered them in, staked them, and within 3-4 d...
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Houston, TX
Solution for wet area near fence
I just moved into a house that is 10 years old on the north side of Houston, Texas. When it rains the water pools about 1 to 3 inches deep around the beds with trees (pine, sweet gum and chinaberry) ...
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Houston, TX
Native trees that host moths and butterflies for birds in Houston Texas
I have learned that non-native or alien plants do not attract the insects that the birds need to live on. I would like to know which native trees for central Texas have the greatest hosting capacity ...
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Houston, TX
Need a source for 100 lbs of Bluebonnet seeds.
Where can one buy 100 lbs (yes lbs) of bluebonnet seeds? Any suggestions on where I can most economically do so? Trying to spread the love :)
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Houston, TX
Large shrub or tree for front door in Houston
I am in search of a shrub or tree to plant next to my front door. I want a showy medium sized shrub or tree (8 to 12 ft), decorative, and a privacy screen since my front door faces my next door neig...
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Houston, TX
Transplanting a bald cypress from Houston
We would like to transplant a bald cypress from front yard to back. It is about 10 ft tall, 3" trunk diameter, 2-1/2 years old and in good health. Any idea how large the root ball might need to be du...
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Houston, TX
TIps for tree grafting.
When should you start grafting trees?
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Houston, TX
Mixed wildflower seeds in pots in Houston
Hello - I live in Houston, TX and was recently given a few seed packets of mixed wildflowers. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment and I'm limited to a large balcony with a container garden. The ba...
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Houston, TX
Freeze damage to my Norfolk Island Pine in Houston, TX
Houston, Texas experienced a rare 3-day snow event this winter that allowed snow to stay on my 20 ft. Norfolk Pine, in the ground for over 10 yrs. Every branch is now brown with all dead foliage. I ha...
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Houston, TX
Native plants to provide nitrogen for compost in Houston
I leave my clippings on the lawn so I don't have enough 'green' for my compost. I'd like to plant an unobtrusive area with some native that I can mow on a monthly basis. The area is in partial...
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Houston, TX
Will shoes pick up American Beautyberry fruit and stain carpets?
Do the berries from American Beautyberry fall on the ground so your shoes pick up the berries to stain the carpet in my house?
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Houston, TX
Pruning guidance for Carolina buckthorn from Houston
I have a Carolina Buckthorn in my back patio that I planted in fall 2001. The summer of 2003 the roofers dropped something off the back and broke the top 10-12 inches off. I have tried to train the la...
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Houston, TX
Are drought-tolerant landscape plantings protected by Texas law?
I was told that Texas has a law in regards to drought tolerant natives and Homeowners Associations. Do you know what it states and how one can find a copy of it? I got a notice from my HOA saying ...
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Houston, TX
Will magnolia roots damage foundation?
We have a Magnolia tree planted in a 5 foot square with foundation on three sides and a side walk on the front. These are all over our block placed by the builder. Will this tree work in this area or ...
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Houston, TX
Cenizos browning in Houston
After this horrible drought, I am committed to xeriscaping with native Texas plants. The few hibiscus that survived have been transplanted into pots and are thriving. I bid the tiny boxwoods a fond fa...
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Houston, TX
What will grow under a magnolia in Houston?
What will grow under a magnolia tree in Houston? The area is shade and partly sunny.
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Houston, TX
Will Salvia coccinea bloom in shade in Houston?
I live in Houston and I used your database tool to search for shade plants. I am particularly interested in plants that bloom and support native pollinators. My search returned salvia coccinea. Will t...
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Houston, TX
Small tree for container near pool in Houston
Can you recommend a small tree that I can grow in a pot for shade? Looking for minimal mess because it will be near the pool. How big should the pot be?
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Houston, TX
Young yaupon trunks bending in Houston
I have new yaupon in this their second summer which are bending over about half-way up their trunk, at around two feet - do I trim them or stake them?
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Houston, TX
Non-native, and/or invasive bermudagrass, St. Augustine and Pistache from Houston
Our St. Augustine lawn died suddenly this summer from either chinch bugs or grub worms (or both?), and a multitude of weeds and native Bermuda have taken over the area. Now that the weather has cooled...
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