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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

Austin, TX
Controlling sandburs from Austin
Hello, What is the best way to prevent sticker burrs from growing in a rocky bed with no grass. There are many other plants we want to preserve and a drip line to keep them watered. We have 2 small k...
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Austin, TX
Identifying non-native lichens from Austin
Can you provide help identifying lichens? If not, can you suggest someone who can?
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Austin, TX
Flowers for monarch butterflies in Bastrop, Gonzales and Travis Counties of Texas
Hi Mr./s. Smarty Plants, What are some flowers that grow naturally on a Bastrop, Travis, or Gonzales county riverside that monarch butterflies commonly feed on? Thank you
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Austin, TX
Agarita suggestion for Houston area
Another possible plant for the following question is agarita. The question: "Looking for a very, very, thorny three or four foot tall shrub for in front of windows to deter break-ins. Considering Ro...
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Austin, TX
Is Robinia pseudoaccia a good replacement tree for Shumard oaks in Austin TX?
Recently two of our Shumard trees in the front of our house died. Both trees were small/medium in size having only been growing for 13-17 years. I've been reading about Black Locust trees which accor...
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Austin, TX
Removing a non-native windmill palm from Austin
I have a fairly good size windmill palm (about 15ft high) that is planted too close to the house. I also don't like having to constantly remove its fronds as they block a walkway. Is there a good wa...
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Austin, TX
Drought resistance of non-native Abelia from Austin
Are abelias drought resistant? I have a spot that is sunny from early morning till about 2-2:30 in the afternoon. Is this enough sun?
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Austin, TX
Removal of live oaks leaves on lawn in Austin
We have about a half inch or so of mostly live oak leaves still on the ground which I thought was good root protection and also holds in moisture. There is a small group of people in our condo subdi...
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Austin, TX
Disposal of Ashe juniper from Austin
I am in western Travis County and we have been clearing our land of some of the Ashe Juniper. When there is not a burn ban, we burn them because there are just too many to shred. I was wondering if ...
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Austin, TX
Non-blooming Dwarf Shrub and Agave Flowers
I have two questions. I need a symmetrical dwarf shrub for full sun in Austin area that is non-flowering. Can you recommend some? And do agaves always flower when they are about 10 years and then die?
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Austin, TX
Winter pruning of lantana from Austin
I live in north Austin. Due to our mild winter, my lantana has not died off this season as it usually does after a freeze - and so I have not cut it back yet this year which I typically do about right...
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Austin, TX
Non-native avocado trees in Rio Grande Valley from Austin
I just read the article in the Austin American Statesman about growing avocados outdoors. Don't know if they grow here, but they certainly don't just grow in south Florida. I used to live in Wesla...
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Austin, TX
Winter groundcover for shaded backyard in Austin
I live in south Austin and have a shaded backyard. During the summer, the lawn died and the ground is now bare. I'd like to plant some kind of winter grass or ground cover that will hold the soil i...
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Austin, TX
Identification of pink flower photographed at the Wildflower Center
Last August I took a photo at the Wildflower Center and now I'm trying to identify it. The flower has many pink petals that either stick straight out or downward and the center has pink frills edging...
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Austin, TX
Protecting a non-native Meyer Lemon from Freezing in Austin
What is the best way to protect my Meyer Lemon tree from freezing Austin weather? It has been planted in my yard for 1 year and is about 4 feet high
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Austin, TX
What to do about volunteer trees growing beneath a large live oak tree in Austin, TX
We have a large live oak tree. Several volunteer trees are growing directly underneath it and into its branches. I want to cut them down if they are going to hurt the long term health of the live oak....
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Austin, TX
Deadwood for Degus
I have a very specific and hopefully easy question. I just brought home some degus (small adorable rodents) and they have a severely restricted list of woods they can chew on safely. The safe trees th...
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Austin, TX
Pruning pink skullcap and rock daisy from Austin
I have some pink skullcap and rock daisy and other plants in my yard that never entirely die back over the winter. Can you tell me what kind of pruning is appropriate? How far can/should I cut them ...
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Austin, TX
Grass installation with plugs from Austin
As much as I would love to use the seed mixture you suggest for Austin, I am not physically able to do the needed prep and was unable last year to get a professional. No one would even call me back wh...
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Austin, TX
Is California fan palm found on Edwards Plateau from Austin
Is the following Palm, Washingtonia filifera, found in the Texas Hill Country, specifically the Edwards Plateau or Balcones Canyonlands NWR.
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Austin, TX
Milkweed Seedlings Source for Austin, Texas
Where can I find seedlings or four inch pots of common milkweed? I have a backyard garden that is mostly filtered sunlight and space for them.
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