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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
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
Resources on advisability of using native plants in landscaping
I'm a member of the Williamson County NPSOT. It came to our attention recently that the city of Georgetown is considering trying to be "friendlier" to native and natural landscaping. At this point ...
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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
Non-native Chinese Pistache tree with dead branches in Georgetown TX
Have mature Chinese Pistachio tree with many dead branches and few buds forming so far this spring - has been beautiful for many years. Do you know why this is happening and what can be done about it...
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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
Sowing native grass seeds in July in Georgetown TX
I have a bare patch of soil behind my house. Can I sow native grass seeds now?
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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
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
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
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
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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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
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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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 in Austin
I own a small landscaping business in the Austin area, and we are admittedly learning every day, but trying to do the right thing. We are knowledgeable about the sun, water, soil requirements for a v...
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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
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
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
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
Delay in fruiting of Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana)
Dear experts, My wife and i are members of your fine organization. Several years ago we bought four things at a spring plant sale for an understory spot in our yard. The Possumhaw Holly, American ...
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