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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

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

Allen, TX
Non-native house plants stressed from Allen TX
I have three house plants that were plants I received from my father's funeral services. They were healthy for about two years and then we added some soil and now they are turning brown and appear t...
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Allen, TX
Why doesn't my Possum Haw have berries this year?
A possumhaw holly has no berries as of mid-May. I planted this possumhaw last summer - it had lots of berries. Why would it have no berries this year? This spring I have two yaupons with lots of b...
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Allen, TX
Non-native bermudagrass in meadow in Allen TX
What is the effect of not killing or removing bermuda grass when converting an area to a prairie meadow in Allen, Texas? Most articles describing how to create and establish a prairie meadow suggest ...
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Allen, TX
Tree roots breaking surface in Allen, TX
I live in Northern Texas, near Dallas. My questions concerns a tree in my front yard that now has roots that break the surface of the soil and grass. I would like to cover the roots. Should I cover...
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Allen, TX
More on bluebonnets
I want to go to the Willow loop north 7 miles or so of Fredericksburg to see the bluebonnets in bloom this year but don't know when the best time would be to see this spectacular view. I plan to be ...
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Allen, TX
Failure to bloom of tropical plumeria
I have had my plumeria for the past five years. The first three years it bloomed but has not the past two. The plant is healthy and continues to grow but will not flower. It seems to be very health...
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Allen, TX
Yellow in pin oak leaves from Allen TX
I have two pin oaks and one is completely yellow - a sign of iron deficiency and the other is starting to turn completely yellow as well. I've a proposal for iron deficiency but it is quite expensiv...
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Allen, TX
Established Habiturf in the DFW area from Allen TX
Where can I see an established Habiturf in the DFW area? There are two sites that are obviously DFW (White Rock Lake and Round Rock) mentioned in Ask Mr Smartyplants, but no addresses. If no sites ar...
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Allen, TX
Decline of indoor lemon cypress
I received a lemon cypress as a gift. I have kept it indoors in bright light and tried to keep it moist. When I received the plant the foliage was soft and now it has become brittle and dry even tho...
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Fairview, TX
Identification and replacement of chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach)
I am trying to identify and locate a native tree. We live in Fairview, near Allen, Texas. It is in bloom now. It has fragrant small lavender 5 petal flowers in clusters. They develop into yellow/t...
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Fairview, TX
Native plants under trees for privacy barrier in Fairview, TX
I am looking for suggestions on what to plant for a Privacy Barrier. The area in question is a shaded area under a tree line of about 200+ feet long. I am hoping for year round coverage. The canopy...
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Fairview, TX
Leaf fall from Cedar Elm planted in clay
I saw the answer to leaves falling off a cedar elm planted in clay. However I planted a Cedar Elm in my back yard. I dug a hole in the grass then planted and put grass back on top. I water every other...
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Plano, TX
Plants for a container bog garden in North Texas
I live in Plano, just north of Dallas. I've developed a recent interest in water gardens and am considering getting my toes wet with a container bog garden. I have an old galvanized wash tub that I...
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Plano, TX
Drought tolerant plants native to Plano, TX
I live in Plano Texas. We have drought conditions and I would like to redo our landscape with flowers that can handle Texas weather annually. My desire is: 1. Year round blooms 2. The ability ...
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Plano, TX
Replacing hawthorn bush with muhly grass from Plano TX
I am thinking of replacing a hawthorn bush with a muhly grass plant or two in an edged area with river rock cover in Plano, texas. It is the black soil and not a sandy loam. We have a sprinkler syst...
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Plano, TX
Peeling bark on red oak in Plano, TX
I have a red oak that was planted 2 years ago. The trunk is approx. 5 in around. The bark around the bottom of the trunk is peeling off. At first we thought it was rabbits so we put some rabbit gua...
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Plano, TX
Is Sucissa pratensis (Devil's bit scabious) allelopathic?
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center pointed me to you. Can you comment on Devil's Bit Scabious? A neighbor pointed out these volunteer plants in my yard and wants me to kill them. He called them Devi...
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Plano, TX
Landscape planning in Plano TX
I am devouring everything on your website and am so grateful that you put your knowledge and experience out there for all of us. Thank you!! I am trying to make a landscape plan for our Plano, TX b...
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Plano, TX
Smarty Plants on caliche
I have heard of sand, silt, clay, and loam, but what is caliche?
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Plano, TX
Good evergreen screen and some shade plants for Plano Texas
We live in Plano Texas. We have 15' between our house and our neighbor. We want to plant a divider/screen of something evergreen, about 6-15' (6-8' is better) and narrow, about 2-3' wide between t...
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Plano, TX
Plants that will withstand spray from fountain and heat from concrete
Working on a property in Plano, I have an area around a fountain, surrounded by concrete, in full sun, that receives a lot of water that is blown from the fountain (which is treated with chlorine tabl...
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