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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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Houston , TX
Hurricane damage on oak in Houston
We have a very large oak tree that survived our last hurricane with lots of lost limbs. Then there was the drought. We have lost three large limbs on separate occasions on non-windy days. I love this ...
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Houston, , TX
Will a Norfolk pine survive winter in Houston
If I transplant a Norfolk pine in the summer, or when is the best time, will it survive the winter growing in Houston Tx? Can you give me some suggestions for fast growing vines facing the front of my...
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Houstson, TX
Plant identification
Have two clippings from Monday the 11th that were growing out of small stumps. Tried to send you pictures of both cuttings of leaves. If you could tell me what you think they are, I would be thankful...
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Houston, TX 77030, TX
Native vine to replace non-native Ficus pumila creeping fig
What is a good evergreen alternative to ficus pumila to cover a rough-textured concrete wall in Houston TX?
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Bellaire, TX
Smarty Plants on Herbertia lahue
Herbertia lahue is now blooming in Russ Pitman Park in Bellaire, TX. Below is a story about it. I heard that the plant is a protected species, but I could not find anything to confirm that. Could y...
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Bellaire, TX
Changing colors on Mexican Plum trees from Bellaire TX
The leaves on my Mexican Plum tree have recently started turning yellow/brown and the veins in leaves are red. Is this a watering issue or disease issue? Mites are on the leaves. This has been a ra...
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Bellaire, TX
How to propagate Texas red buckeye (Aesculus sp.) from seeds
I have a Texas Red Buckeye that is doing very well. How do I propagate from the seeds that come off of that tree? Thanks,
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Houston, TX
Live oak leaves turning yellow after planting in Houston
We bought a 65 gallon live oak in early October, and have been watering fairly heavily three days a week. It seemed OK, then all of a sudden lots of the leaves are turning yellow. Is it getting too ...
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Pasadena, TX
Laurel oak tree not leafing out in Pasadena TX
Hurricane Ike blew down our red bud in the backyard. Had a large 25' laurel oak planted early March 2010. When it was put in the ground, the leaves were on it, but they were all brown and dried. T...
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Pasadena, TX
Problems with non-native Cleyera and Red-tip photinia
I planted a row of Cleyera in a bed that receives sunlight for about 3 hours during the middle of the day. My problem is that a number of the plants are dying. It begins with the leaves on one small...
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Magnolia, Tx, TX
Plant identification
We live in Magnolia TX and have a shrub we can't identify. It's evergreen and has waxy leaves with a serrated edge that are about an inch in length. They have pink flowers and they grow to ab...
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Missouri City, TX
Pruning Copper Plants
I planted two beautiful copper plants in my front beds. They went wild during the fall, but got so leggy that I cut them back nearly to the ground, which I believe was a mistake. Will they come back o...
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Missouri City, TX
Native lawn solution for Southeast Texas from Missouri City TX
I noticed the native lawn article regarding Habiturf states it is for "North, West and Central Texas". What is the recommended native lawn solution for Southeast Texas/Gulf Coast (Houston/Galveston...
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Missouri City, TX
Native perennials for Missouri City, TX
I checked all the questions for my area and still need help. What are some native perennials for southeast Texas
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Deer Park, TX
Control of grapevines in trees
Grapevines have overtaken some of the trees on our property in Central Texas. What is the best way to get rid of the grapevines and (hopefully) save the trees?
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Deer Park, TX
Ground Arizona ash wood suitable for mulch?
We cut down a 40 year old Arizona ash tree and had the stump ground into mulch. Can we use this mulch in our vegetable garden and flower beds
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Deer Park, TX
Looking for name of fragrant, night-blooming plant with flower resembling gardenia
The plant that I am looking for is a night bloomer, strong scented and has leaves and flowers similar to gardenia. I have seen a picture of the plant but not the actually plant. Can you give me an id...
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Pearland, TX
Discouraging rabbit snacking in the garden in Pearland TX
I planted winecups and pink evening primrose in my new landscape beds amongst other native grasses and shrubs. Rabbits have been eating these wildflowers down to the ground. I want to attract wildli...
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Pearland, TX
Tree for sound block near Houston
I live in Pearland, just south of Houston and am looking for a tree that I can plant along my fenceline between my neighbor and me that will block noise. We have a pool and entertain a lot, but they a...
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Pearland, TX
Grasses for dry bottom detention ponds
I am working on a project for my HOA in order to reduce mowing costs and to beautify our neighborhood. We were wondering if you could help us find people knowledgeable about dry bottom detention pond...
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Pearland, TX
Grasses and wildflowers for Houston meadow
I recently bought a house in a new subdivision just south of Houston - as with most new developments, the area is devoid of nature for the most part... I have planted many bird/butterfly/bee fr...
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