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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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Questions From Near You

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
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
Groundcover called Jumping Jacks
My neighbor has a beautiful ground cover and she doesn't know the name and I have searched the nurseries and internet and can not find it. She says it spreads like crazy and when she was young they c...
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Houston, TX
Need shrubs to form a barrier fence to exclude large dogs in Huntsvile, TX.
I'm seeking shrubs to form a barrier fence to strongly discourage free-roaming large dogs from entering a property in Huntsville, Texas. The site is currently just a grass yard basking in full sun, g...
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Houston, TX
Colorful native plants for oak tree shade in Houston
I live in Houston Tx - our subdivision entrance has many oak trees. We cannot find anything that will "stay alive" around these trees. It is mostly shady, but gets a slight bit of sunlight. we wo...
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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
Native specimen tree for Houston, Texas
Looking for recommendations for a specimen tree to flank our front steps. Evergreen, 15 feet tall, maybe 10 feet wide. Will be near icee blue Japanese yews and nearly wild rose bushes. Ideas?
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Houston, TX
Shrubs for fenceline in Houston
I live in Houston, TX and would like your suggestion on what plants, trees or shrubs would work best to grow alongside a fence to hide a neighbor's backyard. We all have relatively small backyards.
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Houston, TX
Plants for aerobic septic system in Houston
My husband and I would like to plants some trees and shrubs, but we have an aerobic system taking up most of the yard :( Can you recommend any trees that won't hurt that? Also shrubs for our weath...
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Houston, TX
Can Dicentra exemia survive in Texas from Houston
Is the Houston/Austin area too hot to grow "Bleeding Hearts" dicentra eximia (King of Hearts) They seem to grow in the wild in Maryland, Virginia, and Tennessee.
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Houston, TX
Tufted hairgrass seed for Houston TX
From Houston-Texas I am looking for a seed grass called tufted hairgrass ( deschampsia caespitosa ), if you can tell me where to find this kind of seed. Thank you for helping.
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Houston, TX
Is this a sycamore tree in Houston TX?
I believe I have a 6 year old American Sycamore planted in front of my condo. There are no seed pods (balls) ever on this tree. I thought all Sycamores have those. Is my tree too young to produce the ...
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Houston, TX
Failure to thrive of Esperanza in Houston
Esperanza plant. I have 3 of these plant in my flower bed for the last 10 years. They get west sun. Over the last three years they have bloomed initially but then the new growth is deformed. The best...
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Houston, TX
Source for Gulf Muhly for Houston
Could you help me find a seed source for Gulf Muhly, Muhlenbergia capillaris please? I need enough for about 2 acres. Thanks.
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Houston, TX
Browning leaves on Ilex vomitoria in Houston
Houston, we have a problem!!! I have a number of yaupon bushes that have been in my yard for years that have a large number of leaves turning a solid dark brown color. Any ideas of the cause?
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Houston, TX
Will a 10-ft. yaupon damage my septic lines in Texas Hill Country?
A 10 foot yaupon is growing in my Texas hill country septic field. The field pipe is 5 feet below the surface. Should I be concerned about the roots invading the pipes? What would be the best way to r...
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Houston, TX
Native grass to replace St. Augustine in Houston
I read your answer to the question on the Houston Chronicle's website in relation to watering St. Augustine grass. You referred to St. Augustine as non-native, but from what I can gather St. Augusti...
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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
Care of Florida Blue or Lisiantus in Houston
I'm in Houston, Texas and I'm growing, for the first time, Florida blues, Eustoma, purple. Since I am from California I'm not familiar with this plant. It's beautiful. How do I care for them i...
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Houston, TX
Skunk cabbage for Houston TX
Can you find skunk cabbage in the Houston, Texas area?
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