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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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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Questions From Near You

Kaufman, TX
Plant identification
Please try to identify a shrub growing beside a country road in Van Zandt Co this month. It had tiny, slender cone shaped fruit or "flowers" along the branches. The leaves are dark green, about 1 i...
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Kaufman, TX
Avoiding cedar elm because of allergens
Hi. Cedar elm, Ulmus crassifolia, seems like a wonderful, tough, drought tolerant native tree. I'd like to plant several to shade buildings. I'm being discouraged from doing so because Cedar elm ...
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Kaufman, TX
Damage from feral hogs
Hello. What extent of damage can be expected when planting wildflower seeds in an area regularly visited by feral hogs? In some cases do the hogs actually help plant the seed as they root around? ...
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Scurry, TX
Smarty Plants on Hesperaloe parviflora
I see these bright pink orange flowers on tall bracts everyday on the way to work. I have been searching for the name so I can buy one. I found a picture on your site at (http://www.wildflower.org/?...
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Kemp, TX
Plant identification
Please identify this tree: has leaves like a catalpa, blue/lavender flowers on a long flower spike at the end of the limb, green fruit/seed about the size of a pecan it is fuzzy like a peach with a h...
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Terrell, TX
Native flowers for cutting for wedding in June
My husband and I are hosting a wedding reception for our daughter and her husband in Austin in June. If possible, we would like to use live flowers or live colorful plants as centerpieces and decorat...
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Mabank, TX
Mountain Laurel growing in East Texas
I found a plant that looks like a Texas Mountain Laurel growing wild on a fenceline in east texas, near Canton. It is a small shrub/tree and has flowers like wisteria. It has "hairy" stems, they ar...
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Mabank, TX
Winter hardy fern for northeast Texas
I am looking for a winter hardy fern to grown around my deck. The area would get some morning sun but afternoon shade. What do you suggest?
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Wills Point, TX
Denying cows access to flowers through fence
What flowers can I plant that cows will not eat? They stick their heads through the fence and eat anything they can reach. I would like to plant something in the fence row that will not hurt the cows...
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Wills Point, TX
Toxicity and invasiveness of Scarlet Wisteria
I recently purchased seeds for Scarlet Wisteria (Chinese rattlebox tree). I spoke to a neighbor about this and she warned me not to plant them as they were poisonous to hummingbirds. Can you clarify...
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Heath (near Dallas), TX
Sooty mold on Texas Sage in Heath TX
I have a Texas Sage that has developed a mildew, blight, fungus or (?) condition. Something has attacked the leaves with a black sooty condition. What is this and what can I do to help this plant thri...
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Heath , TX
Starting over on a lawn in Heath TX
Unless one counts dichondra as grass I have more weeds than grass in my yard.I have hand pulled the weeds and used an organic program without success. The soil is a hard clay typical of North Texas. I...
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Heath, TX
Growing Evergreen sumac in clay soil of Texas
I'm in need of a fast growing evergreen screening shrub/small tree. I'm considering the Evergreen Sumac but before I go further I need to know if this plant will thrive and remain evergreen in the D...
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Heath, TX
How to care for newly transplanted Live Oak.
I planted 3 B & B, 6" caliper live oaks in February and they lost most of their leaves during the normal time but when the new leaves grew back the amount of leaves were quite a bit less. I have th...
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Balch Springs, TX
Reason for small winecup flowers (Callirhoe sp.)
I purchased some winecup seeds from a wildflower seed company and planted them this past autumn. I live in the northcentral Texas area. This spring, several of the seeds sprouted but they had tiny lav...
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Balch Springs, TX
Seed companies selling winecups (Callirhoe sp.)
can you recommend some wild flower seed companies where I can purchase seeds of the winecups that I see growing all along the roadsides? I tried one wild flower seed company but did not have good luck...
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Wilmer, TX
Plant identfication
a vine plant with small white flowers with a small red flower on the end of the bloom,looks like a little red bird sitting on the flower.It is beautiful.
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Mesquite, TX
Suggestions for flowerbed in Mesquite TX
I live in Mesquite and am new to the area. I am trying to make the flowerbed in the front of my house look better. I've planted some yellow roses and red roses but would like some perennial that bloo...
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Mesquite, TX
Hydrilla problems in Tom Bean Lake in Mesquite, TX.
What is the lifespan of Hydrilla in 30 acre lake at Tom Bean Tx? Does it grow spring thru summer and then hibernate thru winter ??
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Mesquite, TX
Evergreen groundcover or ornamental grass to plant under tree
What can I plant under my tree as a groundcover? I would like an evergreen groundcover, how about ornamental grasses?
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Rockwall, TX
Browning leaves on recently planted chinkapin oak in Rockwall TX
I just planted a chinkapin oak that is about 1 1\2 inches thick last week and now some of the leaves are turning brown. Does that mean its dying? Do you have any tips that I could use to protect it?
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