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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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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

Salado, TX
Yellowing leaves on Mexican Plum in Salado, TX.
I do live in Cental Texas (Salado) and I have the same problem with my Mexican Plum as the lady in Bellaire, TX. Mine was planted in June in a raised bed and receives sun all day long. Within the la...
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Salado, TX
Identification of blue flower
I have two similar (but obviously different) wild flowers growing on my property. I have pictures of each. What email address can I use to send them to you to identify? I thought one was blue-...
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Salado, TX
Need some help with a Buffalo grass planting in Salado, TX
Recently we planted buffalo grass sod in the spring of 2007. During the summer I had a problem with barnyard grass due to a lot of rain. During 2008 I had a problem with nut grass. I had been advise...
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Salado, TX
Vinca as a groundcover
Someone told me that Vinca would be a great ground cover for my very large mostly shaded area. How can I establish it and where can I get it? Thanks in advance.
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Salado, TX
Wildflower seed balls
On one of the HGTV garden shows Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center was featured. It showed how you could make little dirt balls filled with wild flower seeds and throw them around your land making i...
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Salado, TX
Finding a source of Straggler daisy
I've decided on Straggler daisy but am having trouble finding it. It would be perfect for me. Do I have to wait until next Spring for it to show up? Can it be ordered through a nursery or a landscape...
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Salado, TX
Straggler Daisy as a Groundcover in Salado, TX
I've identified Straggler Daisy or Horseherb as the plant to cover my 20 x 40 partly shady partly sunny lot. Could you provide me with the best method for starting and growing the plant to ensure it ...
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Salado, TX
Native ground cover for bare ground
I have a 20 x 40 foot partly sunny area that has only leaves covering the bare ground. I want to replace the leaves with ground cover. Can I mix ground covers like clover, asian jasmine, etc? I would ...
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Salado, TX
Source for sod in Salado TX
Can you tell me where I can buy grass sod in Georgetown-Salado area? When I called Grass and More I got a non-working number recording. Thank you!
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Salado, TX
Growing Loblolly Pine in Salado, Texas
I would like to plant a loblolly pine in Salado, Texas. Will these grow well here?
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Salado, TX
Evergreen screen for newly constructed metal building
Neighbor built a 12' tall metal building right by my gate. I want to screen it with fast-growing evergreen natives. I have lots of ashe juniper on my property, but none where I need it now! Can AJ...
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Salado, TX
Care of a live oak with decay and perhaps fungus on trunk
I have a huge live oak on my property in Salado that just lost a very large branch. The branch had decay in the center and also has a variety of bugs in it, espeically since it has been on the ground...
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Belton, TX
Keeping a Texas Madrone alive from Belton TX
I have found a supplier of a Texas Madrone and have been wanting to grow one ever since our family vacation to Big Bend NP. My question is how do you have success with this tree? Many people say it is...
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Belton, TX
Is sulfurous well water affecting leaves on trees in Belton TX
We installed an irrigation system for our buffalo grass lawn last spring. The grass is fine but the leaves on the trees are burned where the water hits them. I suspect that the well we are using fo...
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Belton, TX
Native Bird Feeding in Belton, TX
We recently bought a bird feeder and a huge bucket of non-native bird seed (I'm not sure if the whole seed mix is non-native, but I believe most of the mix is). The birds go through the whole bird fe...
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Belton, TX
Identification of vine with large leaves and blue-black berries
I visited a creek with a limestone seep spring that supplies it. Around the creek is growing some kind plant that has leaves that are very similar to a briar, or snailseed. However, the leaves of the ...
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Belton, TX
Hibiscus wilt in Texas Star hibiscus
I have a Texas star hibiscus on my deck. It flourished all summer, but not quite a month ago, the leaves turned yellow and fell off. Will it come back? What happened???
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Belton, TX
When is it time to remove diseased oak trees in Belton, TX?
When to give up on my live oaks. We lost/mostly several live oaks since 2011 and the drought. One, died from the crown, one large mass at a time, and now resembles a 10' totem pole with scraggly gro...
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Belton, TX
Propagation of Gregg's mistflower in Belton, TX
I would like to know how to plant seeds from Gregg's mistflowers. Can the seeds be planted in the spring, and if so, do they need to be prepared first (soaked overnight, etc)?
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Belton, TX
Elimination of non-native, invasive King Ranch bluestem in lawn
How can I eliminate an annual infestation of king ranch bluestem in my bermuda lawn? Thanks.
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Belton, TX
Plant identification
I have a grandchild that said the seed pod on a plant that looks like a clover is edible. It has clover like leaves and a little yellow flower. I did taste it and it kind of taste like a pickle. Th...
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