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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

Georgetown, TX
Are brown junipers (Juniperus ashei) dead?
If the cedar/junipers in our area are brown, will they ever come back green? Or just clear them out as dead. There are many of them due to the drought. Thank you.
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Georgetown, TX
Will non-native Alchemilla mollis grow in Georgetown, TX
While living in Connecticut I had a favorite plant -- Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla Mollis). Any chance I could grow it in my new herbaceous border in Sun City Texas (Georgetown, TX)?
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Georgetown, TX
Non-native Sandankwa viburnum (Viburnum suspensum) damaged by freeze
We live in Georgetown. My Sandankwa Viburnum seem to have been affected by the late freeze. There are now very few leaves and no flowers/buds. Should I cut the plants back, leave them alone, or giv...
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Georgetown, TX
Privacy hedge, thick, fast-growing in Georgetown TX
I want to plant a privacy hedge in Austin Texas Edwards escarpment so it's rocky soil. Looking for something thick, fast growing and can be kept to 7'. It's along a wrought iron fence and ranges fr...
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Georgetown, TX
Will Cedar Elm seedlings resprout from the root?
I have a number of cedar elm saplings coming up in a garden bed which I am planning on replanting. It is very difficult to remove the entire taproot below about 1.5 feet as I encounter rocks and heavy...
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Georgetown, TX
Low growing native shrubs to go next to a rock pool deck
I have a pool surrounded by a rock deck, & want to plant some low-growing shrubs next to the deck. However, I want to ensure the root system of the plant isn't invasive enough to crack the rock deck ...
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Georgetown, TX
Insect infestation, identification and treatment
help! I have an infestation of small flies in my flower/vegetable beds. They seem to be eating the leaves of just about everything. I've tried to find out exactly what they are, but haven't had any ...
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Georgetown, TX
Brown leaves on Bottlebrush shrubs after freeze in Georgetown, TX
I have Bottlebrush shrubs that have all brown leaves after the freezes that we have experienced here in central Texas. Will they be ok?
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Georgetown, TX
Pollenless Cedar Elms for Georgetown, Texas
I am considering planting the Cedar Elm tree at my home in Georgetown, Texas. I was under the impression that only the female of the species produces the irritating pollen. Is this true?
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Georgetown, TX
Possibility of consuming Rapistrum rugosum
Reference: "Bastard Cabbage" (Rapistrum rugosum) Garden section of Austin American-Statesman (April 7, 2007) speaks of this weed. As a child, my parents used to pick, cook and eat this weed at the ...
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Georgetown, TX
How do I preserve bluebonnet seeds for planting in another area?
How do I preserve Bluebonnet pods or seeds for replanting in another location?
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Georgetown, TX
Poor drainage in wildflower bed
I have a flower bed that has given me difficulty because it has poor drainage but typically receives sun for most of the day. Salvia gregii was the only survivors for the initial landscaping attempt. ...
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Georgetown, TX
Replacement for St. Augustine grass
I live in Georgetown, TX. I have an acre lot with many large Live Oak Trees. Currently we have St Augustine grass growing, but with the drought, it's not working out well with rainbirds putting down ...
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Georgetown, TX
Purple sage with black residue on leaves in Georgetown TX
I have 2 very healthy tx. purple sage that have developed a black residue on some leaves, and is a "sticky" substance..any ideas what this is and how to treat???
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Georgetown, TX
Weed laws on mowing wildflowers in the Spring
Is there any law that would prevent a Town from making a person mow their wildflowers down in the spring?
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Georgetown, TX
Repairing damage to perennials from hailstorm
We just had a tremendous hailstorm north of Georgetown. The hail was being blown horizontally and my perennials were sheared off at the ground. Is there any advice as to how to help these plants reg...
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Georgetown, TX
Soil for native Chilopsis linearis and Salvia greggii
I want to plant a desert willow and a salvia greggii in my small lot. The developer used sandy loam to fill in the small garden in the front. I am 73 and a bit impaired. Do I really need to remove ...
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Georgetown, TX
Deer resistant privacy fence for shade in Hill Country
I am looking for a shrub to plant along a privacy fence that gets 8+ feet tall, fast growing, preferably native, deer resistant, and can tolerate mostly shade. I reside in the Hill Country area. Tha...
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Georgetown, TX
Will Copper Canyon Daisy be at the Plant Sale from Georgetown TX
Can you find out if Copper Canyon Daisy will be sold at the plant sale? I'm having trouble finding it in any of your databases. The scientific name is Asteraceae Tagetes lemmonii. It's a shrubby ...
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Georgetown, TX
When to plant bluebonnet seed
When do I put out Bluebonnet seed? Do I soak them first? Thank You.
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Georgetown, TX
Esperanza failing to bud out in Georgetown TX
I planted esperanza shrubs last summer and they did well. I did not prune them back in the winter. They are not showing any signs of life (No greenery) Will the plants start to form leaves and flow...
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