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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

Pflugerville, TX
Various holly hybrids or selections for Pflugerville TX
I love Savannah Hollies. I used them all the time in the Dallas area. Now that I have moved to Austin, I am wondering if I can plant them in this area. I have a soil pH of 7 and drainage is moderate. ...
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Pflugerville, TX
Texas frogfruit vs. non-native St. Augustine grass
Can Texas frogfruit resist invasion by St. Augustine grass, or will I need to create a barrier?
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Pflugerville, TX
Guide for plants for landscaping in Central Texas
I am new to Texas and want nothing but native plants. What is the best book or guide so i can see the plants, flowers, shrubs and trees and know best what part of the yard to plant them in? I live i...
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Pflugerville, TX
Trimming of native muhly grasses
Do pine muhly, gulf muhly, and bull muhly need an "annual haircut"? I started wondering after reading that Lindheimer's muhly does not have to be cut back each year. I cut back all my non-muhly n...
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Pflugerville, TX
Annual plants for weed control in Pflugerville,TX?
Can you suggest an annual or summer-dormant plant to mix with Dalea frutescens? The object is to discourage the spring-emerging weeds that precede the leafing out of the Dalea, so it should finish bl...
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Pflugerville, TX
Shaping of native hawthorns
I have three young hawthorns that were propagated from a nearby Blackland prairie stand. If I limb them up, will that encourage them to branch more near the top, or will it just ruin the form altoget...
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Pflugerville, TX
Cut wildflowers for wedding in June in Panola Co., TX
I need fresh picked Texas wildflowers for my son's wedding dinner on June 3. The wedding is in Carthage, Panola Co, Tx. I'm from Austin and am not familiar with that vicinity. What flowers should b...
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Pflugerville, TX
Bluebonnet prospects for 2009 in Central Texas
How does the bluebonnet season look for 2009 in Central Texas (Austin). Will it be a good year and when will it start and when will it peak? Thanks for all you do!!!
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Pflugerville, TX
Transplanting roughleaf dogwood in Pflugerville, TX
Hello. My rougleaf dogwood is suckering enthusiastically, and rather than mow off all the root suckers, I'd like to transplant a couple of them to the stream bank in the greenbelt behind my house. ...
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Pflugerville, TX
Collecting seeds of Anemone berlandieri, windflower
The recent rainy weather has produced a small colony of what I have identified from your web site as Anemone berlandieri Pritzel (Texas Anemone) in my backyard. Is there a way to harvest these seeds f...
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Pflugerville, TX
Pruning time for Lonicera sempervirens from Pflugerville TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, When does the Wildflower Center prune its Lonicera sempervirens?
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Pflugerville, TX
Life expectancy for Carolina buckthorn (Frangula caroliniana)
Someone recently told me that Carolina buckthorn only lives 4-5 years and I'm wondering if that is true. I had a nice one (on Blackland) that died suddenly in its fourth or fifth year, during the dr...
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pflugerville, TX
Identification of old plant called pinks
For years my mother had a pretty pink flower in her yard. It was in a little cluster of green leaf like bush. She just called them pinks. They would close in the sun and open in the morning or afte...
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Pflugerville, TX
Shumard Oak failing to leaf out in Pflugerville TX
I planted a five gallon container grown Shumard Red Oak late last October and so far this spring there is no sign of any leaves on the tree. The branches are not brittle so I don't think that the tre...
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Pflugerville, TX
Pruning oaks in August from Pflugerville TX
Can I do minor pruning on my Lacey oak and bur oak in August if it is hot and dry? I'd like to prune one limb from each. The Lacey oak limb is about 2 inches in diameter, and the bur oak limb is ab...
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Pflugerville, TX
Overwintering possumhaw seedlings indoors in Pflugerville, TX.
Can possumhaw (Ilex decidua) seedlings be kept indoors over the winter? The goal is to protect them from deer and there is no other good option (i.e., no protected outdoor porch, etc.), unless you ca...
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Pflugerville, TX
Virginia creeper in trees
Can Virginia creeper be allowed to climb on trees--specifically Texas ash and live oak--or will it damage them if allowed to attach itself? We are thinking of using it as erosion control in a greenbe...
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Pflugerville, TX
Information about FanTex ash.
I live in central Texas and recenty planted Fan-tex ash trees thinking that they were similar to the native Texas ash. I am beginning to beleive that this tree has more in common with the Arizona ash...
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Pflugerville, TX
Low growing, flowering evergreen plants for Pflugerville TX
I am wondering if you can suggest some low growing, flowering evergreen plants for my garden.
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Pflugerville, TX
Combining yellow columbine and Malvaviscus arboreus
Can yellow columbine coexist peacefully with Malvaviscus arboreus? I have a nice stand of the former and would like to plant the latter to take over when the columbine starts to look ratty in the hea...
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Pflugerville, TX
Native plants for Pflugerville, TX in blackland soil
Mr. S-P, I'm perusing the plant sale list for a couple of tall shrubs to plant on the sunny southwest side of my house, in Blackland soil. It is generally dry there because of the sun, but can ge...
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