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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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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
Identity of very tall plants in Austin, TX
I have these huge tall plants. They don't seem to want to bloom and they are shading out my other natives. They get very tall. 10 feet or so. What is it?
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Austin, TX
Pecan leaves falling off the trees in Austin, TX.
Why are the pecan tree leaves turning black, sappy and falling off the trees, in great quantities? This has happened since the recent rains, all through the Allandale area.
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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 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
Potting soil mixture at Wildflower Center from Austin
What potting soil mixture does the Wildflower Center use in its greenhouses for the native plants grown for the Austin Native Plant sales? Is the pH adjusted to match the alkaline soils in this area? ...
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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
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
Bird nest fungus in Central Austin, TX.
Hi, I live in Central Austin and have different types of ground cover (such as silver pony foot)in my garden and have noticed huge patches of bird's nest fungi in between and under. Every time it ...
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Austin, TX
Vine recommendations for Central Texas homes
I have hardy plank siding and am looking for a Central Texas native vine that will grow over it. I am trying to keep it from growing under the planks.
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Austin, TX
Pecan trees too close together in Austin
There are two pecan trees in my central Austin yard. Each is four or five inches diameter at chest height and maybe 15 feet tall. They are within six feet of each other and their canopies interfere wi...
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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
Non-berrying possumhaw from Austin
I planted a possumhaw 8 to 10 years ago for the beautiful winter color, it has never set berries. I see tiny white flowers along the branches each spring, and always hope this will be the year, but I...
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Austin, TX
Is Matelea reticulata invasive? Will it take over a crossvine?
I have 50 feet of fencing with a healthy crop of cross vine on it. Pearl milkweed (I believe it is Matelea reticulata) is growing into portions of the cross vine. Is the milkweed too invasive for th...
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austin, TX
Using a brush hog on acreage on Bear Creek in Austin, TX.
We have 8 acres off 1826 situated on Bear Creek. It has open areas with scattered large trees (cedar elm, live oak, white oak). Cedars or junipers only along the the lot lines. We've been told we...
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Austin, TX
Sticky material dripping from tree in Austin
The tree in my backyard is dripping what I surmise is sap - a thick,fdrake1@ sticky substance in July. What kind of tree is it and is there anything one can do prevent this from happening? Thank you...
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Austin, TX
Spriranthes sp. blooming on rocky hilltop
I am not sure if my previous question went thru, so I am submitting it again. How unusual is it to find a few blooming specimens of Spiranthes sp. on a rocky hilltop west of Loop 360 near Bee Caves R...
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Austin, TX
Problems with Copper Canyon Daisy from Austin
We had 3 copper canyon daisies. Two of them bloomed profusely last year, but only one has come back this spring. We cut them all back as instructed. When it was clear that two were not coming back, we...
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Austin, TX
Trees for privacy screen
Hello, We'd like to plant a privacy screen to hide our view of an adjacent apartment complex. Ideally the trees or other plantings might be a native species, and preferably they would eventually rea...
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Austin, TX
Bluebonnet rosettes in July from Austin
Dear Mr S.P.: Please solve my bluebonnet summer mystery! I established about 1500 sq feet of bluebonnets starting four years ago by scavenging seeds here and there and just scattering in the sprin...
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