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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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Del Valle , TX
Plants that survive Central Texas weather
What type of plants survive the Central Texas region weather for summer and winter?
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Del Valle, TX
Replanting members of Rosaceae family in same spot
HI Mr. Smarty Plants We had two apple (yellow fruit) trees besides out house and they died. Is it ok to replant in the same place with other trees without being afraid something is wrong with the soi...
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Austin, TX
Bark problems with Monterrey oak from Austin
I planted a 65 gallon Monterrey Oak (White Oak) in my front yard in February of this year. I water it once a week. All of the leaves and branches appear very healthy and there is no discoloration....
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Austin, TX
Plants toxic to horses in Travis County, Texas
What plants/weeds are toxic for horses in Travis County?
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Austin, TX
Petals on Black eyed Susans not developing from Austin
I just read Barbara Medfords response to undeveloped petals on perennial black eyed susans and was disappointed not to find a better explanation. I have had the exact same thing happen to mine, and I...
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Austin, TX
Cedar sage not blooming in pots in Austin
I have cedar sage (salvia roemeriana) in containers on a dappled-shade apartment patio in Austin, TX. This is their first season here, transplanted in May (it's now September). All the plants have be...
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Austin, TX
Identity of plant with white flowers and serrated leaves in creek bed
I have a wild fall blooming plant, white flowers, serrated leaves. Growing abundantly in my dry creek bed. Any thoughts?
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Austin, TX
What crops grow in Laredo, Texas?
I have to do a report on Laredo Texas and one of the questions is what type of crops do they grow in Laredo Texas. I couldn't find an answer anywhere and I was wondering if you can help me?
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Austin, TX
Non-native photinias dying from Austin
I have some red tip potinias that are dying. The ends of the branches are dying and the leaves are turning brown, I don't think this is the fungus that affects most red tips, any clues?
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Austin, TX
Tiny holes oozing sap from Austin
My ash tree becomes loaded with butterflies on the trunk. At closer inspection, I see they are drinking sap which is coming from small holes in the trunk. Are the butterflies creating the holes? I ...
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Austin, TX
Identity of plant that smells like passion fruits at Westcave
Green greetings! I saw a plant in the canyon at Westcave Preserve last weekend. They are small bushes with elliptic leaves. They are impressive because the leaves smell like passion fruits. Do you hav...
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Austin, TX
Exposed Tree Roots in Austin
I have a large ash tree with a lot of mud at the top of a sloping yard. I want to build a small retaining wall with the ground leveled above. This would entail covering exposed tree roots with 4-18 in...
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Austin, TX
Duplicate request for information from Austin
I am considering planting cross vine on a wrought iron fence. Will it cause any damage to the wrought iron or stucco posts?
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Austin, TX
Disagreement on amending soil for planting from Austin
In today's newspaper column, you answered a question about transplanting a redbud. You said to follow the instructions on the WFC web site, except you recommended adding compost to the backfill soil....
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Austin, TX
Type of non-native parsley for swallowtails from Austin
What is the best type of parsley for Yellow Swallowtails? Lost a caterpillar when it ran out of food from a parsley plant. I can't remember what kind of parsley. It would not feed on Rue, cilantro...
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Austin, TX
Are mountain laurel beans safe to use as rattles with small children?
Is it safe to use the mountain laurel mescalbean pods as shakers or rattles, as long as the pods are not open and the seeds left unexposed? If a small child (very small, who has no way to open the ...
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Austin, TX
Is purple bindweed good for a screen growing on a fence?
We cleared a bunch of dead trees and tree limbs (mostly cedars and some oaks) on our semi-rural property in Driftwood and now we're left with an undesirable view onto the neighboring property. We're...
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Austin, TX
Growing Crossvine on a Wrought Iron Fence in Austin
I would like to plant crossvine along a wrought iron fence. Will it damage the fence or the stucco posts?
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Austin, TX
Seeds of Meremia dissecta from Austin
I have a large quantity of seeds of Merremia dissecta that I acquired from plants growing in the parking lot of the San Antonio Museum of Art. (Hmmm… I wonder if it's called alamo vine because of som...
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Austin, TX
Information about prickly pear cactus for school project
Hello my name is Case Danzeiser. I go to a middle school called Clint Small Middle School in Austin, Texas. We are doing a species study on a native Texas plants and animals. I choose to study the pri...
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Austin, TX
Identity of sunflower
I am not able to find how to post a picture to help you identify a plant on our campus. I believe the plant I am trying to identify is a rough sunflower. (Helianthus hirsutus) We have zexmenia as ...
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