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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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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
How to deal with suckers on Flame-leaf Sumac
Hi! It seems you can have too much of a good thing! Our flameleaf sumac is taking over our yard. There are multiple shoots appearing in our flower beds and in the lawn. How do I get rid of the unwante...
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Austin, TX
Is it OK to remove soil around oaks - Austin, TX.
I have several oaks trees (one live oak + burr oaks) from 15'-35' in height. They seem healthy. A local arborist says they were planted too deep and that the soil around them needs to be excavated t...
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Austin, TX
Need suggestions for a replacement tree for Hackberry tree in Austin, TX in Austin TX.
We have a large hackberry tree in our front yard. We are cutting it down this fall. I would like to replace it with a tree native to this area..preferably something fast growing. What are your reco...
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Austin, TX
Differences in prostrate Mimosa species
There are apparently a lot of little pink puffy-flowered prostrate plants with thorny stems and sensitive leaves: Mimosa microphylla, Mimosa roemeriana, Mimosa strigillosa. How does one tell them apar...
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Austin, TX
Why aren't the Caesalpinia species in the Native Plant Database
Why doesn't the Wildflower Center list Caesalpinia in its plant database? I grow 3 species in my garden with no coddling: C. mexicana, C. gilliesii, and C. pulcherrima. I underst...
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Austin, TX
Problems with rock rose in Austin
Hi Mr Smarty Pants, We have a Texas Rock Rose which is growing next to our gravel path in Austin, with grass growing under it. In the last week, it has stopped blooming suddenly, and all the leaves h...
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Austin, TX
Red selection of Coreopsis Tinctoria from Austin
Red tall plains coreopsis is being sold @ Eden Bros. THey note it is a native, can grow to zone 10, but they say it is "not heat or drought toleranr". Cannot find verification or rebuttal anywhere. ...
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Austin, TX
Brown rings on grass under live oaks in Austin
There are brown rings in the grass at the dripline on several Live Oak trees in our neighborhood. What causes this? The trees appear healthy.
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Austin, TX
Garden instructions from Austin
I'm a beginning gardener putting in some new landscaping in my front yard in north central Austin, TX. The yard faces almost due east, so it gets full sun until early afternoon, when the house's sha...
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Austin, TX
Asphalt beneath surface of soil in Austin
About 3-4 inches below the surface of our yard is what appears to be asphalt. It comes out in chunks a few inches across and it's all about 1.5 inches thick. I have no idea what it is; my best guess ...
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Austin, TX
Wildlife garden for Austin
I am trying to make my backyard more wildlife friendly. I have pecan trees for the canopy and some understory shrub/trees like rough leaf dogwood and redbud. I am having a really hard time finding sui...
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Austin, TX
Pruning practices from Austin
I need to do some pruning in my front beds and I know nothing about plants. From what I have been able to identify I have bicolor irises, plumbago, Japanese Aralia. I don't even know where to begin o...
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Austin, TX
Identification of Queen Anne's Lace look-alike
I am trying to identify a plant/weed that grows here in Austin but I haven't found an exact match in your databases. It looks very similar to Queen Anne's lace and to your photos of yarrow but the l...
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Austin, TX
Is it normal for the bark to fall off an oak tree in Austin, TX
Is it normal for live oak bark to fall off when touched? I am afraid to get near them?
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Austin, TX
Source for non-native, invasive Winter Honeysuckle from Austin
Seeing Lonicera abiflora today reminds me of the "winter honeysuckle" my grandfather grew in San Antonio from 1920s or so through the 1950's. It was a bush with stiff upright stems and bloomed cre...
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Austin, TX
Wilting American Smoke Tree in Texas
I planted a young American smoke tree last fall (mid-November) and it put out a good show of tentative new leaves this spring. Then to keep the tree form I clipped some little shrubby start ups at the...
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Austin, TX
Growing non-native grapefruit from seeds from Austin
Can you grow ruby red grapefruit trees from seeds?
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Austin, TX
Lilies not blooming from Austin
Last December 8, you published a letter in the Statesman that I had written to you regarding Rain Lilies, Oxblood Lilies, and Copper Lilies. The were sprouting in my garage in a bag. You recommended...
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Austin, TX
Suckers from Oak Tree Roots in Austin
Hi. I am a home owner in Austin TX with several live oak trees. We love them and want to keep them healthy. We have a nice landscape in the back yard and Iím wondering if you can answer a quest...
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