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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!

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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
Eupatorium serotinum (late boneset) for garden setting, care and propagation
What are the prospects for Eupatorium serotinum in a garden setting? What requirements does the plant have? How large does it grow, etc.
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Georgetown, TX
Why isn't my recently planted Mexican Redbud growing in Georgetown, TX?
I planted a container-grown Mexican Redbud in early March. As of April 5th, it is showing no signs of buds or leaves. Other redbuds in the area (possibly Texas redbuds) have been blooming for severa...
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Georgetown, TX
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRANDYWINE MAPLE AND BIGTOOTH MAPLE - GEORGETOWN, TX
We live in the Georgetown area (north of Austin). We have a maple tree, that had a tag that read Brandywine. We wanted a bigtooth maple. What is the difference between what we have and what we want...
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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
Sedges or grasses for sun/shade in Georgetown, TX
I have an area that is part shaded (under oak trees) and part in the sun. I would like cedar sedge in the shaded areas (some is already growing there)but I can not find where to buy it. Do you know w...
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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
Grass for septic drainfield in Georgetown TX
We recently had a new septic drainfield installed. It is raised approximately 2-3 ft above ground level. I would like to plant it with a native grass/grasses that would attract wildlife yet still be a...
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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
Watering schedule for sod lawn
We just moved to Georgetown, TX, where we have a 2-month old sod lawn (NOT Zoysia) that appears to becoming fairly well-established. We want to conserve water for environmental and financial reasons....
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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
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
Replacement for Spanish Dagger from Georgetown TX
I have a Spanish Dagger plant in my garden which appears to be dying. Where can I purchase a replacement for this plant? The Spanish Dagger I have is close to 10 feet tall. What is the best way t...
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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
Evergreen tree to provide block for treehouse in Central Texas
I live close to Austin TX and need an evergreen tree to block neighbor's newly constructed, metal roof tree house. It looms over our garden and yard - can you suggest a nice evergreen tree for hot m...
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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
Fungus Spots on Native Bush Honeysuckle
My native bush honeysuckle plants that I have along my back fence have leaves that are turning yellow with spots. It appears to be a type of fungus, but not powdery mildew. Any suggestions as to what ...
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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
Official list of invasive plants in Texas.
Is there an "official" invasive / noxious weed list for Texas? I have found several lists, but I wanted to know if there was one truly accepted list for Texas. If not, what would be the #1 list yo...
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Georgetown, TX
Wilting stems on beautyberry in Georgetown, TX
Last summer I discovered that a 4-year old beautyberry had one (of many) stems that died. Leaves on this single stem wilted and dried up. This year the same happened to two or three stems. The rest of...
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Georgetown, TX
Problems with non-native Weeping Japanese Red Maple
have a Weeping Japanese Red Maple. We bought if from a good nursery in the spring and planted it but now it is not red anymore. It is just greenish. Can you advise me what it is needing or any thing ...
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