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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
Frost damage to native plants in Austin
Hello, We bought a number of native plants at this fall's WFC sale and planted them. The recent frost seems to have defoliated our pitcher sage, beautyberry, butterflyweed, and flame acanthus plan...
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Austin, TX
Arborvitae for house plant from Austin
I am a Northerner transplanted to Austin, TX. While I love Austin it feels like many of the plants & trees I came to love up north won't grow here at all. Could I grow an arborvitae in my home as a...
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Austin, TX
Destruction of Straggler Daisy in Austin
I hate Straggler Daisy. Not to be offensive, but it appears from other posts on this site that you, Mr. Smarty Plants, and many others would like to treat it as a protected species. It is taking over ...
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Austin, TX
Ground cover plant that tastes like cucumbers
It is a native ground cover plant that is edible and tastes like cucumbers. Found in the Edwards Plateau. What is the name?
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Austin, TX
When should cochineal bugs be on prickly pear cactus?
I am a fibers artist that would like to harvest the cochineal bugs from the prickly pear cactus. I would like to know what time of year should I expect to find the cochineal bugs around the Austin ar...
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austin, TX
How to treat bark damage on oak tree
I have an oak tree approx. 50 ft., live in austin, texas. the tree has dropped bark about 3-4 ft above ground, in a section of 4 inches by 8 inches, and the tree appears dark where the bark was. is ...
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austin, TX
Germinating Mexican Persimmon seeds in Austin, TX.
I'm planning to germinate Mexican Persimmon seeds, and plant them this spring. I want a female for fruit. Is there any way to encourage a plant to be female, and if not, is there any way you can iden...
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Austin, TX
Mexican Sycamore trees grown from seed
If someone is selling an alleged Mexican Sycamore grown from a seed harvested from a mature tree growing in Austin, is it likely to be a TRUE Mexican Sycamore -- or has it most likely been pollinated ...
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Austin, TX
Transplant shock in desert willow in Austin
We planted a desert willow 5 days ago. It came in a 15-gallon pot but the tree is quite large (~10 ft) with a wide spread. We watered thoroughly during planting but have not watered since (light rai...
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Austin, TX
Information on edible tubers of hog potato from Austin
I inquired a while back about hog potato or Hoffmannseggia glauca. You gave me some information on the plant but no information on when the plant produces the edible tubers. Also how long does it take...
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Austin, TX
Source for pecan mulch used at Wildflower Center from Austin
Hello Mr. Smarty Pants I was recently at the Wildflower Center. I saw all the pecan shell mulch and was wondering where you get it from. I noticed awhile back that it is one of the recommended mu...
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Austin, TX
Preparing for planting wildflower meadow in Austin
We are in the midst of prepping beds for wildflower plantings in the spring. We spent the last month pulling up our existing lawn and invasive grasses so we are now wondering how to secure the beds f...
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Austin, TX
Landscapers in Austin area
Can you recommend 2-3 Landscapers in the Austin area that I could get to landscape my yard? or where can I get this information?
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Austin, TX
Seed Habiturf on top of existing St. Augustine from Austin
We don't want to rip up an existing St. Augustine lawn (potential HOA problems), but we'd like to go native grasses (like Habiturf?). Is there anything we can just seed on top of our present lawn a...
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Austin, TX
Reducing Allergens in Yards and Gardens
What are some allergen-free native plants to Central Texas that thrive in the soil and can survive in the weather?
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Austin, TX
Comments on article in Austin paper
Why can't we comment on your piece in the Statesman? It says no comments possible at the bottom.
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Austin, TX
Questions about care and pruning of Mexican Plum and Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
I have a couple of questions regarding tree care and pruning. I have a Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana), about 10 years old or so. I would like to prune it. Is it ok to prune now in late wi...
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Austin, TX
Controlling oak suckers in Austin
I live in Austin TX and have one particular native Oak tree in my back yard with a large bed around it. I don't plan on planting anything else in the bed since it is already nicely landscaped along ...
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Austin, TX
Central Texas plants highly deer resistant from Austin
I'm helping a friend who has a severe deer problem in Westlake. The Deer Resistant list includes over 300 species, but they are classified as "mild" or "moderate" or "high" Deer Resistance. Is ...
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Austin, TX
Ilex vomitoria Sufering from Drought?
My Ilex vomitoria has always thrived. It is about ten years old. This fall, a portion of the leaves on the ends of the branches have turned yellow on the edges with green veining in the center. Othe...
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Austin, TX
Changing the pH of the soil
Hi, We have a job that has mostly Texas native plants on it. The architect is wanting to drop the pH levels of the soils to acidic levels that we don't feel is good for the plants and the area. ...
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