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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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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

Justin, TX
Problems with mature cottonwood in Justin TX
I have a very large, 90" circumference, approx 60' tall, cottonwood tree in my front yard that appears to be sick. The trunk splits at about the 4' level into 2 parts. at that split is a 10" wide...
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Krum, TX
Planting a Texas Persimmon in rocky soil in Krum TX
I have recently purchased a 10 gallon Texas Persimmon plant that I want to put as a highlight plant in my yard. According to the nursery, it has been in the pot for 2 years. I have been "blessed(or...
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Krum, TX
Identification of red and black insects on Yucca
I have little red and black insects on my soft leaf yucca and I don't know what they are or how to get rid of them. They make the leaves rusty looking. Do you have any idea what they are or how I can...
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Denton, TX
Mrs. Johnsons favorite flower
I recall the the Black-eyed Susan was Lady Bird Johnson's favorite flower, is that true? Did she have other favorites?
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Denton, TX
Perennial vine for full sun, Denton, TX
I would like to grow a perennial vine that would tolerate full sun during the day. A flowering or non-flowering is fine. I do NOT want anything that is poisonous, i.e. Carolina jasmine, since this w...
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Denton, TX
How to Control Poison Ivy
We have lots of Poison Ivy on a site we are clearing it is adjacent to a pond and children are around this area all the time. We are creating hiking paths. I have a lot of experience but I do not wan...
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Denton, TX
Oak trees shedding leaves in Denton TX
In Denton, TX we have two mature Quercus buckleyi. It is May 11th 2012 and one of these trees has been shedding green leaves for the last week. The only changes we have made are: planted English ivy...
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Denton, TX
Texas ash tree splitting in Denton TX
I have a Texas ash tree that's splitting in its center and need some info re cable tie or other techniques to fuse the crotch together. I have temporarily placed two bands of plastic cable ties just...
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Denton, TX
Redbud leaves turning yellow in mid-summer
The leaves on our redbud trees are turning yellow. The yellow leaves are pale with no other spots and no dark veins. I don't know for sure which variety of redbud they are or how old they are (more t...
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Denton, TX
Cherry trees in the North Texas area
Will cherry trees grow well in the North Texas area?
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Denton, TX
Small shrubs for flower bed in Denton, Texas
I have a small flowerbed that faces south on the front of my house. What small shrubs would be best in that situation?
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Denton, TX
Identification of a plant with winged stems in Texas
Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We live in Denton Texas & our backyard is being taken over by a very woody type weed or bush. The most distinguishing characteristic is that long thin vertical ridges or fins...
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Denton, TX
Distance apart to plant oaks in Denton TX
How far apart should I plant Pin Oaks and Shumard Red Oaks in our yard? All around us are native oaks, but our backyard has none. I want to create a "forest" that looks like they are native, but n...
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Denton, TX
Native flowers from bulbs from Denton TX
I am slowly converting my landscaping to as much native regional plants as possible. Are there any flowers from bulbs that you could recommend?
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Denton, TX
Taxonomy question concerning the Family Commelinaceae
Hi I have a question. Many people refer to plants differently, I have always used the Genus and species and rarely the family name..it is very confusing .. when a professional uses a name that is a co...
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Denton, TX
Weed prevention in vegetable gardens
Mr.Smarty Plants - I know this isn't your area, but we have a vegetable garden that has been plagued by summertime weeds. Do you have a recommendation for a control plan we could implement during t...
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Denton, TX
germinating Gulf coast penstemon and purple coneflower
I'm interested in propagating gulf coast penstemon (penstemon tenuis) from seed. Do I have to mascerate the 'berries' to remove the pulp from the seed, and do I have to stratify the seed to get th...
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Denton, TX
Hanging flowering plants in part shade in Denton, TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'd like to hang 4"-6" pots with flowering plants from north-facing eaves. That area gets an hour or so of late-morning/noon sun. Also, my apt. faces a large courtyard so...
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Denton, TX
Native vines for pergola in Denton, Texas
We ve built a pergola under our Post Oaks and Winged Elms. The soil is sandy, as you would expect with post oaks. Are there any native vines, hopefully with a pretty flower, that I might coax into g...
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Denton, TX
Plant that can move from outside to inside for Denton, TX
I am looking for a plant that is either native to Texas or is well acclimated to the Denton TX area that can move from a covered outside area to an adjacent indoor area behind large glass walls, to a ...
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Denton, TX
Why are there no monarch butterflies feeding on my milkweed
I brought a milkweed from LA that has orange and yellow flowers. I live in Denton, TX. I haven't seen any eggs from the monarchs yet. Do the monarchs live on different milkweed in TX? I looked up ...
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