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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

Austin, TX
Something damages leaves on Tecoma stans from Austin
Help! Something is chomping my Esperanzas. I thought it was deer but they don't seem to be eating other yellow bells in my neighborhood. I think it's an insect. Something is completely stripping the...
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Austin, TX
Propagating Pavonia seeds
Could you please recommend a method for scarifying Pavonia seeds? Thank you
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Austin, TX
Habiturf lawn for townhouse in Austin
Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in central Austin and on November 1st I will be moving into a townhome with a small yard of around 500 square feet. The yard has been neglected and currently looks to ...
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Austin, TX
Ruffly foliage on native lantana
A native lantana in my front yard has developed ruffly foliage on one stem. It looks like miniature broccoli. What can this be?
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Austin, TX
School project on acid rain effects on plants from Austin
Hi I go to an Austin high school and I am doing a project on how acid rain affects plant growth. I am wondering if you know any plants that would be more or less susceptible to acid rain for this proj...
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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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Austin, TX
Questions on non-native St. Augustine from Austin
I have St. Augustine grass in my yard. I am having work done in my yard soon, which will require new sod. I know the St. Augustine has to take root in the ground before the first freeze, to assure t...
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Austin, TX
Problems with non-native St. Augustine lawn from Austin
We have St. Augustine in our front lawn. There are some patches where the grass has entirely died but mixed in with the dead areas are little clumps of living grass. It seems to be spreading througho...
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Austin, TX
Native grasses for golf courses from Austin
I may be working on two different golf courses and wanted to know if any native or hybrid native grasses would work for the fairways and rough areas? The rough areas are no problem as a number of ...
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Austin, TX
Identity of shrub growing wild in Austin Texas area
Hi! I need help identifying a bush growing wild in my area. I have pictures of leaves fruit and bark. I cant find a good place to post these in order to ID plant. I'm in Austin TX area. Thank...
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Austin, TX
Growing Texas wildflowers indoors for a March wedding from Austin
I have learned so much from this site! Thank you! I am getting Married this March and I am hoping to use Texas wildflowers for the centerpieces. I hope to grow them in containers indoors and have the ...
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Austin, TX
Distribution vs. Native Distribution in NPIN?
I'm a Habitat Steward in Austin and conducting a native plant swap tomorrow, 9/28/13. I need to be able to tell people who come whether their plant is native or not. I want to use your smart phone ...
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Austin, TX
Identity of shrubs in Austin neighborhood
I have run across two beautiful bushes in our neighborhood. They have flowering branches that daisy-chain out like a fountain. No one can tell me what they are. They are located in front and on the ...
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Austin, TX
Planting times and sun for native plants from Austin
When to plant Phacelia congesta seeds? Can Maximilian sunflowers tolerate partial shade?
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Austin, TX
Thorny plants for a security perimeter in Austin TX
Hello, I am trying to establish a security perimeter around my property that incorporates thorny or otherwise deterrent shrubs and vines. Can you recommend some attractive native plants that would su...
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austin, TX
Medium-sized trees for Central Texas
I need some help figuring out what 2 trees to plant to replace 2 trees that are being taken down on Monday. The input we've received from the company doing the tree cleanup is to go with a chinkapi...
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Austin, TX
Winter care of Asclepias tuberosa from Austin
We have several asclepias tuberosa (Butterflyweed). Monarch caterpillars have found and denuded them. We are excited about all of the Monarch caterpillars, but unsure of what to do next. What do we...
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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
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
Eight Foot Screen for Austin, TX
I'm looking for a fast-growing shrub to "extend" the height of my fence and provide privacy in my yard in Austin. My lot is pretty much full sun and very dry, mostly clay soil. 8' is my goal. Than...
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