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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

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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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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Austin, TX
Plants for big pots by pool in Austin
Could you please suggest some plants to put in big pots out by my pool? They will get lots of heat and sun. Thanks.
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Austin, TX
Brown spots on native oak trees
Hi, My native live oak trees are declining. The leaves have small brown spots that increase in size until the leaf dies and falls off, then the branch and then the entire limb. I have not watered the...
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Austin, TX
Frost protection for non-native citrus trees from Austin
With ice predicted, should I pick citrus, lemons, limes, satsumas that are not quite ready?
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Austin, TX
Do bees visit cedar trees and other conifers for pollen?
I was wondering if honey bees or native bees visit cedar trees for pollen? and what about other conifers?
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Austin, TX
Death of Texas Betony and Blackfoot Daisy from Austin
I have one small area that there are two plants - Texas Betony and Blackfoot Daisy withered and died eventually. Same kinds of plants are doing fine close by. It is my front yard close to walk way.I w...
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Austin, TX
When to harvest native grass seeds?
We are trying to restore native grasses to a small pasture between Oak Hill and Dripping Springs. Last spring (2014), we seeded a mix of sideoats grama, little bluestem, dahl bluestem, and sprangleto...
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Austin, TX
Caterpillars on Mountain Laurel from Austin
My 1-yr old mountain laurel has been decimated by small yellow and black catepillars. It recovered a bit and pushed out some fresh new growth, and more came and decimated that too. Are these caterpi...
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Austin, TX
Roses for Austin soil
What roses would work in the soil near Lake Austin Spa?
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Austin, TX
Invasive plants in native plant area from Austin
Why do invasive plants grow in native plant territory?
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Austin, TX
Stress on Goldenball leadtrees from Austin
I know of two separate instances where young Goldenball Lead Trees (leucena retusa) have shown symptoms of defoliation and a bleeding of white sap from sores that have developed on the bark. The first...
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Austin, TX
Plants for a fairy garden
Hi Smarty.. I would like to create a fairy garden for my 3 year old daughter this spring in a 4ft x 2ft space. Do you have any suggestions on what native plants would be great for this?
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Austin, TX
Searchable lists of plant sale plants from Austin
Is there a way to obtain a searchable list of the plants available at the Wildflower Plant Sale in April?
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Austin, TX
Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
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Austin, TX
Food for butterflies in Austin
Mr. Smarty Plants, my kids and I are raising Painted Lady butterflies from caterpillars but it's still too cold to release them (oddly cool spring we're having!) If they mate and lay eggs, what loc...
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Austin, TX
Aging Arizona Ash in Austin
Mr. Smarty Plants! I live in South Austin and just bought a house with a large, 30-40 year old Arizona Ash in the backyard. When I moved in, most of the lower branches were bare and dead and so I had ...
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Austin, TX
Removing Mountain Laurel Seed Pods from Austin
Is it best to remove seed pods from Mt. Laurel or leave them on the tree?
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Austin, TX
Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
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Austin, TX
Looking for a supplier for Mustang Grape vine in Austin, TX>
I'm looking for a supplier in Austin that will have a Mustang Grape Vine seed or plant for purchase. I found Natives of Texas in Kerrville, but if you know of a supplier in Austin, that would be pre...
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Austin, TX
Growing Texas star hibiscus in Central Texas
Hi there, I purchased a beautiful Texas Star Hibiscus that I want to plant in my yard. Unfortunately, my yard being in Travis Heights, I hit a lot of caliche when digging. To plant some other nativ...
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