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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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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Questions From Near You

Round Rock, TX
Evergreen shrub with fall color in Round Rock, TX
I am looking for a shrub that has fall color much like the burning bush euonymus, but needs to be evergreen the rest of the year since it will be used as a foundation plant. Are there any plants that...
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Round Rock, TX
Plant Identification from Round Rock TX
I am looking for the name of a ground cover I saw that looked like large bur oak leaf in a silvery green color. It was in the shade. I tried a search with no luck. Thanks!
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Round Rock, TX
Identification of Tacoma stans or Yellow Bells
We have seen a plant along the freeway here in Round Rock...beautiful greens leaves and the most amazing yellow flowers. Someone told us it was an esperanza plant and drought tolerate; however, I can...
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Round Rock, TX
Native trees for revegetation project
We live in a MUD just outside of Round Rock Texas. There is a developer building apartments behind about 20 houses. Last year, we got the developer to agree to leave 20' of native vegetation in the e...
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Round Rock, TX
Chinaberry trees coming up volunteer
I have several chinaberry trees that have sprouted after my neighbor trimmed his tree. I have cut these trees down to the ground a couple of times, but they just send out new shoots. Any idea on how...
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Round Rock, TX
Unknown pest of Texas Mountain Laurel from Round Rock TX
I have a Texas Mountain Laurel that is being denuded from the top down by something unseen. It's not the Genista moth larvae, as there are no worms and no webbing visible. The only clue that it might...
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Round Rock, TX
Fiber and dye plants at the Wildflower Center from Round Rock TX
When I visited the Wildflower Center recently I noticed a garden labeled as containing fiber and dye plants, but the individual plants and their uses were not all labeled. I would be very interested ...
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Round Rock, TX
Non-native begonias not blooming in Round Rock, TX
My angel wing begonias won't bloom. I feed them with fish emulsion. What is the problem?
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Round Rock, TX
Need advice on Angel Wing Begonia in Round Rock, Texas
My Angel Wing Begonia seem hardy and healthy; I keep them in bright, indirect light and feed them periodically with diluted fish emulsion. I keep them dry as opposed to moist. But they don't bloom. ...
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Round Rock, TX
Protecting a new patio from oak roots
Hello, I have just formed up for a new patio. I have a Live Oak tree about 2' away from the patio. It has a trunk diameter of about 10", I believe 20-25 years old. Problem: I have 2 large roots in ...
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Round Rock, TX
Plant identification
Just blooming out here in the Austin metro is a square-budded yellow 'daisy' with puffy center. Very like a Huisache Daisy, but the margins aren't so toothed. It's VERY common in the Austin greens...
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Round Rock, TX
Problems with non-native closet plant
I have three closet plants. All are putting on new growth and even blooming. However, the leaves are turning brown from the edges. What is the problem?
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Round Rock, TX
Blackfoot daisy turning brown in Round Rock, TX
A few days ago, our blackfoot daisy was doing wonderfully. Then we got heavy rains and suddenly the plant is sere and brown. Did the too wet weather do this, and will it come back next year?
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RoundRock, TX
Care and fruiting time of pumpkins
This is my first year growing pumpkin. I have a good vine with flowers now & then, but I still don't see a little pumpkin forming. What am I doing wrong?
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Round Rock, TX
Non-native poinsettia care
I have a poinsettia that I have nursed from last Christmas. It is in big pot and looks really good. I'm trying to make it bloom. I have it out front with a sw exposure. I'm afraid of too much sun...
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Round Rock, TX
Mowing Bouteloua dactyloides (Buffalograss)
Dear Mr or Ms Smarty Plants, Although I see you have posted some information about mowing Buffalograss it doesn't seem to answer my question. Will it hurt to mow the buffalograss flags off? Will t...
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Round Rock, TX
Can non-native Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in Round Rock, Texas?
Can the Epiphyllum (Orchid Cactus) be grown in the Round Rock Texas area or is this area too hot for it?
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Round Rock, TX
Gardening book for beginner gardener
What is a good gardening book for a beginner gardener who lives in Round Rock. Would like info for both vegetables and plants for landscaping. Thanks.
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Round Rock, TX
Disease in non-native pittisporum in Central Texas
Is there a disease in central Texas (Round Rock) affecting dwarf pittosporum? Specifically, clusters of dead leaves and much leaf drop. Some white, cottony residue on wood but not sure if it is mealyb...
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Round Rock, TX
Controlling scale insects on hollies
I have a number of holly shrubs at the side of my house. Recently I noticed that they have tiny white spots on them. I looked at several native Texas gardening books, but can't find what I need to t...
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Round Rock, TX
Replacing non-native invasives with native grasses and wildflowers from Round Rock TX
I have a small piece of property (1.5 AC) East of Austin, Texas that get's overgrown with weedy vegetation (johnson grass, dandelion, and some tall yellow flowering plant that I see all over the medi...
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