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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 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.

Questions From Near You

Southlake, TX
Information on Texas wildflowers
Does your site (or another site known to you) have a link to provide information on when our Texas wildflowers should emerge this year at various locations in the state, and whether this year is expec...
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Southlake, TX
Guidelines for planting native wildflowers on roadside
My 4th grade Girl Scout troop has chosen to plant bluebonnets and other wild flowers along TX Hwy 114 in Southlake as their project for their Bronze Award. Do you have a guideline that you follow w...
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Southlake, TX
Using Coffee Grounds under Live Oaks in Texas?
Can you add coffee grounds to live oak tree?
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Southlake, TX
Privacy screen for pool from Southlake TX
I have a row of 7 live oaks that help block my neighbors two story house. Unfortunately, there is a gap between each tree of about 8 feet wide and 15 feet tall (from ground to the first branches/ leav...
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Southlake, TX
Preparation for wildflower meadow at elementary school
I am a Scout working on starting a wildflower meadow at an Elementary school. How should I prepare the ground and what types of seeds do well in zipcode area 76092? I would also like so add some nat...
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DFW, TX
Identification of prickly vine in north Texas
While trimming the shrubs around my suburban house I noticed (and my legs were torn up by!) a vine-like plant with small green serrated leaves and millions of small, very sharp thorns. I search Invasi...
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Flower Mound, TX
Growing bluebonnets in pot in Flower Mound TX
We received a package of bluebonnet seeds along with the DVD Wildflowers: Seeds of History as a gift. In the film, Andrea DeLong mentions that bluebonnets did not grow well in a rich organic soil. W...
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Coppell, TX
Tree with tap root for small area near Dallas
Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in Coppell, TX (a suburb of Dallas) & am looking for a tree to plant near our pool to provide some shade. The current tree (a silver leaf maple) is dying. My husband thi...
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Coppell, TX
Native shrub for hedge in Dallas County, Texas
Looking for something to plant as hedge around yard for privacy. Prefer not to have to trim and like natural look, not over 8-9 ft. in full sun. Year round privacy for pool needed.
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Coppell, TX
Sun and shade landscaping in Coppell TX
My two-story home in Coppell Texas faces north. The houses are ten feet apart. The sun leaves the front yard late-0ctober/early-November. It is March 24 and the beds are still in house shade. In s...
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coppell, TX
Will Hyacinth Beans and Cardinal vine (non-natives) grow in Texas?
I live in Coppell, TX, and a neighbor gave me some Hyacinith Beans and Cardinal Vine seeds to plant. She described these as doing well in her local garden, but I cannot find a photo or picture of them...
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Coppell, TX
Evergreen tree for screen behind a waterfall
I want to plant 3 evergreen trees as a screen behind a waterfall and along a fence by my pool. We took down a wax myrtle due to winter/ice damage and the mess in the pool. I want male yaupon hollies...
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Coppell, TX
Diagnosis of problems with Texas ash
Our 15 year old Texas ash has less leaf production this year. It also has a small amount of algae on the trunk, and some of the branches have small white spots on it. Also, a few of the branches close...
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Coppell, TX
Identification of tall dry, stalk plant in Central Texas
I'm trying to identify a plant from my childhood in Central Texas, as I'd like to evaluate its potential as a biofuel crop. It is a stalk-plant, growing quite tall, 7-8' on average, with knobbed...
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Coppell, TX
Small Tree for Texas Garden
I would like to plant a small tree just 3-4 feet from my house, but I don't want to damage the foundation. Is there a small fruit or nut tree I could plant that would fit the bill? Failing that, is t...
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Coppell, TX
Identification of a cucumber-like vine with fruit
We found tiny, grape-size white melon-like fruit on a vine, with tomato-like/cucumber-like seeds. The leaves on the vine were similar to grape or cucumber leaves, but not spiny. They were behind our...
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Colleyville, TX
Environmental factors that affect lifecycle stages of maidenhair fern.
What are the environmental factors that can affect the lifecycle stages of a maidenhair fern, particularly A. trichorleopis? Thank you
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Colleyville, TX
Planting Purple Threeawn (Aristida purpurea) and Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)
Do you have information on planting Purple Threeawn and Little Bluestem? Also are there any inherent problems when planting…things to avoid, etc. Wanting to plant as ornamentals in the North Texas D...
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Colleyville, TX
Native plants for screen in Colleyville TX
My soil is pure sand that goes down as far as I can dig. I am needing native plants to use as a screen, that grow to be 6-10 ft. tall. Also, since my plantings dry out so quickly, would it be helpfu...
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Colleyville, TX
Oak sprouts in flower bed in Colleyville TX
We have a raised flower bed in our back yard that includes 2 live oak trees. We have a TON of shoots that keep popping up and make our bed look very untidy. My husband doesn't think the shoots are ...
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Westlake, TX
Quercus polymorpha botanical name for Mexican white oak
What is the scientfic name for the Monterrey Oak?
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