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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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Questions From Near You

Austin, TX
Lavender near Austin TX
Are there places to view blooming lavender near Austin in July 2011?
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Austin, TX
Are Ashe Junipers dying from mite damage in Austin?
If Ashe Juniper needles are turning brown and dropping off the trees because of drought, and not disease, do the needles ever come back, or have the tree limbs died? What if the cause is mites, not ...
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Austin, TX
Is Ruellia deer resistant
Is Ruellia deer resistant? I have white Ruellia, 18 -20 inches tall.
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Austin, TX
Non-native Tradescantia spathacea in Austin
Can a moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) plant be planted in a landscape setting with part sun of up to six hours in this texas heat?
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Austin, TX
Possibility of hydrophobic soil in Austin, TX.
I believe I have an area in my garden with “hydrophobic soil”: no matter how much or how slowly I water, it just beads up and rolls off and the soil beneath remains cement dry and powdery. In my readi...
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Austin, TX
Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
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Austin, TX
What fertlilizer for live oaks under drought conditions?
In your June 7 answer about helping live oaks survive the drought, you state that additional fertilization may help as well. What kind of fertilizer to you recommend and how should it be applied? Th...
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Austin, TX
What about the brown dots on my Silver sage?
During the past year, the leaves on my silver sage bushes around the perimeter of the front of my house have turned yellow in places and there are tiny brown dots on virtually all of the leaves. If I ...
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Austin, TX
What fertilizer can make potted plants flower in Austin, TX?
I have a Lantana and esmarelda planted in large pots. They froze last winter but have both come back strong except they do not bloom even though I have fertilized. Is there something special I need ...
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Austin, TX
Source for Crushed Limestone Used at the Wildflower Center
Dear Mr. Smarty plants, Do you know where I can find the pulverized limestone that you have at the entrance around the front of the building? It's right around where you have Clematis texensi...
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Austin, TX
Disappearing oranges from Satsuma orange in Austin
I had many tiny future oranges on my Satsuma Orange Tree until a few days ago. Suddenly, all were gone except one. They weren't on the ground and the tree itself seems incredibly healthy. It is gr...
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Austin, TX
Why are small leaf pieces aligned on top of exposed root?
Hi. An oak tree in my yard has one of its exposed roots covered in hundreds of small pieces of leaves. The pieces follow exactly the shape of the root above the surface. What insect would do this and...
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Austin, TX
Should Texas live oaks be mulched under drought conditions?
Should we mulch our live oaks in pastures for water retention?
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Austin, TX
Apparent disease in peach tree in Austin
I have a peach tree that the leaves are "bleeding" out on. The leaves are continuing to get paler and paler. There are no peaches on the tree this year either. What can I do?
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Austin, TX
Peak time for bluebonnets to bloom in 2009
Any idea when we can look for the bluebonnets to appear in 2009? Trying to have a reunion and want to see bluebonnets for the out of staters!!
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Austin, TX
Native trees and shrubs for Austin
Hello, I'm searching for a small or medium-sized endemic or native tree (or tree-like shrub) to feature in the front yard of my South Austin bungalow. I want something that provides dappled shade so...
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Austin, TX
Root barriers for invasive plant roots from neighbor in Austin
My neighbor's invasive plantings are invading my yard. He has Chinese parasol, China berry, Japanese honeysuckle, privets, ligustrums and native Mustang grape vines planted so closely together they ...
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Austin, TX
Problem with weeds in the buffalograss
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm about to throw in the towel! My back 'lawn' of buffalo grass (609) is almost all 'weeds'! Native ruellia and lyre leaf sage have taken over and as the area has gott...
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Austin, TX
Soapberry suckers in Austin
Western Soapberry. Cut it down many months ago. Now I have baby trees all over the lawn. Are these the berries or are they coming from roots even though some sprouts are quite a distance away. I pul...
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Austin, TX
Large-scale wildflower maintenance
We purchased the Texas/Oklahoma wildseed mix from your shop last year and planted them this past fall. The wildflowers came up beautifully, but at the beginning of June, after flowering just one time...
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Austin, TX
Decline of Japanese ferns in Austin
I've enjoyed beautiful Japanese ferns in my shaded garden for about ten years. They are looking spent and straggly, despite fish emulsion, compost,and lots of mulch and soaker hose watering in the s...
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