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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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
Looking for stinging nettle not exposed to pesticides or exhaust
Hi, Thank you for providing this service! I'm interested in foraging and wild edibles in Austin and am wondering if anyone can tell me a spot where I could harvest some Stinging Nettle that is un...
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Austin, TX
When should salvia greggii be pruned from Austin
Should salvia greggii be pruned in fall/winter? I thought I read onsite that all woody perennials should be left untouched or pruned to 6 inches. Does this apply to salvia greggii?
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Austin, TX
Are leaf margins of Chilopsis linearis toothed from Austin
Are the leaf margins of Chilopsis linearis, Desert Willow, smooth or toothed? The NPIN descrip says willow-like. Most willows have toothed leaf margins. Thank you.
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Austin, TX
Thoughts on non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
I would like to know your thoughts on growing Italian Cypress trees in Austin Texas? We are looking to create a privacy screen(and prepared to pay more for mature trees to cut down the wait to grow...
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Austin, TX
Eradicating trumpet vine runners in Austin
How do I eradicate trumpet vine runners from my lawn? Will it kill my pecan tree?
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Austin, TX
Rain garden plants for Central Texas
Do you have a list of rain garden plants for Central Texas?
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Austin, TX
Harvesting washer rinse cycle water from Austin
Mr. Smarty Plants, My question is different. I am "harvesting" 8-9 gallons from the rinse cycle in my top loading washer. I was told not to use this water on vegetables, just shrubs and flowers...
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Austin, TX
Ecosysystem with pecan at center from Austin
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I would like to create a native tree guild around a mature pecan. It shares its space with native shrubs and ephemerals but I would like to add a nitrogen fixing plant. I am...
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Austin, TX
Pruning live oak in Austin
Hi, We recently purchased a house in South Austin and there is a huge Live Oak Tree about 6 feet from the back door (so so so love it!) The only real issues I have so far are: 1. Needing to trim a ...
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Austin, TX
Corn gluten on Habiturf from Austin
I live in Central Austin. This past Spring 2013) I replaced my San Augustine lawn with Habiturf. My question concerns corn gluten. It is usually applied in late Jan - mid Feb. Would using corn glu...
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Austin, TX
Plants for attracting butterflies in Austin
My 9 year-old son is interested in finding butterfly eggs this Spring. His 3rd grade class is studying butterflies right now. I found a Wildflower Center article that lists several plants butterflie...
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Austin, TX
Galls on live oak tree in Austin
I live in Austin, and have a 13 year old live oak in my yard. It has developed little spheres, kind of like green peas, on the underside of the leaves. What is it? Is it harmful? Is there somethin...
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Austin, TX
The Pros and Cons of Using Stone Mulch for Plants and Wildfire Safety
I am trying to grow native plants that are wildfire-resistant. I want to avoid the use of flammable mulch -- especially in beds next to the house. I'm considering river rock or crushed stone, but one...
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Austin, TX
Live oak wobbling in the ground from Austin
I have a live oak that was not planted firmly in the ground by the subdivision builder's landscapers. The entire tree is wobbly to the touch and it has come close to dying as result of windy condit...
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Austin, TX
Managing a wet area in Austin
I suspect that my backyard lies at the very top of a creek watershed. However, all of the water flowing through it gets blocked by a solid stone wall. Whenever we get a significant rain event, part ...
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Austin, TX
Tree removal from Austin
Unfortunately we need to cut down a Spanish oak (11" diameter, over 50 feet tall) that is leaning against our upper story deck (if it falls, the roof, deck, and steel supports may be crushed). A lim...
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Austin, TX
Trimming of penstemon after bloooming from Austin
I planted a penstemon in my backyard last fall and it's doing great. Once the flowers have bloomed, do I cut the stalk back? It is about 2 ft tall and doesn't appear to be doing anything. I belie...
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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
Revegetation of school site with meadow plants from Austin
We are revegetating a hill country school site (typical calciferous soil stripped of vegetation & minimal topsoil) with a native seed mix equal to Native American Seed "Meadow Mix". We have an abund...
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