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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
Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
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Austin, TX
Whitefly infestation in roses and salvia
Several of my outdoor plants (including Knockout roses and salvia) have a white residue on the stems. If I touch it a white bug jumps off. The residue can be wiped off or sprayed off, but the little...
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Austin, TX
Deer-resistant plants for under cedar and oak trees in Austin
I have about 1.5 acres in southern Travis county. It's full of mature live oaks and cedar trees, and the soil is full of limestone. I've been gathering the limestone and using them to create raise...
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Austin, TX
Removing fading blooms from iris
Iris maintenance: when blooms begin to fade do I pluck off just the bloom? cut off the entire stalk? leave it alone? Some blooms grow on stalks without leaves and some on stalks with leaves.
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Austin, TX
Deer resistant wildflower seed mix
I'm looking for a wildflower seed mix that is deer resistant (they walk right through this area), drought tolerant, full sun, perennial or self-seeding annual, for Austin, Texas. Any recommendations...
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Austin, TX
Cleaning up neglected yard after construction in Austin
We have just finished an extreme makeover on the inside of our house, but all the heavy equipment in the yard left us needing a complete makeover of the outside. The property was previously neglected...
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Austin, TX
Identification of Monarda citriodora on roadsides
What is the name of the lavender wildflower so prevalent right now throughout the Texas hill country? It's an upright stalk that has lighter and darker lavender petals with rows of green leaves sepa...
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Austin, TX
Invasiveness of non-native Asian jasmine
I have a lot of Asian Jasmine planted as groundcover in various beds. The last year or so it has become unruly and is now invading my St. Augustine, working its way into the lawn itself. Is there an...
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Austin, TX
Source for sensitive briar in Austin
My husband, young son and I are beginning a landscaping project at my son's school where they have a colorwheel garden. Our section is the green section. There are already some plants in the plot and...
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Austin, TX
What is the acreage of your gardens?
The wildflower gardens and display areas comprise about how much, either percentage or acreage, of the entire 279 acres at the Wildflower Center? Does that also include areas for growing flowers for ...
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Austin, TX
Coralberry in Central Texas has lost leaves
I planted a coralberry this past spring. It seemed to be doing well, but then I noticed some of its leaves were missing. Gradually, all the leaves disappeared, from the top of the plant down. It is ab...
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Austin, TX
Plant identification, Oxalis drummondii
All around Austin in the last couple of weeks I've noticed a beautiful lavender flower blooming in dense clumps. I haven't been able to look at them closely because it seems they prefer to be in th...
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Austin, TX
Distinguishing Bermuda grass from Buffalo grass
Is Bermuda grass taking over my Buffalo grass lawn? I recently sodded a small area of Buffalo Grass 'Prairie' (last fall). It's doing beautifully, or so I think. There are stolons running and reach...
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Austin, TX
Life expectancy for Ulmus crassifolia
What is the life expectancy for a cedar elm? We live in Austin, and the tree was likely here before the house, which was built in 1939.
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Austin, TX
Parthenocissus quinquefolia as replacement for Asiatic jasmine
The deer have stripped the Asiatic jasmine groundcover under my clusters of live oak trees in Southwest Austin. This year the bare areas of ground are covered in Virginia creeper seedlings. I have b...
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Austin, TX
Oak Selection in Austin
The City of Austin is offering me two free trees to plant in my front yard. I live on the limestone shelf that is Northwest Austin, with only a few inches of topsoil that was brought in by the home b...
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Austin, TX
Insect infestation of plants, dog and home
I have plants that some kind of bug is killing them, my fan plam, ficus tree and other plants. The leaves are drying up and falling off. Apparently, they also are infestion my apartment. I feel them c...
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Austin, TX
Stem canker or leaf fungus in Morella cerifera
Dear Mr.Smarty Pants: The upper half of our wax myrtle, which we had allowed (with artful pruning) to reach about ten feet suddenly died this spring (it dropped most of its leaves and didn't sprout...
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Austin, TX
Native grass for shaded lawn in Austin
Hello, I've read all your info on the native lawns and came by the center on Sunday. We live in Circle C and want to plant a lawn in our backyard. We don't want something that needs a lot of wate...
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Austin, TX
What is the sticky stuff coming out of the trees in Austin?
Hello - I live in Austin TX, and in the past half month or so, have been noticing much sticky, sweet sap being exuded from trees. In a normal year I only notice the crepe myrtles doing this, but this...
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Austin, TX
Identifiation of Castela erecta ssp. texana as armagosa
I am reading a document that includes the name Armagosa in a list of plants identified in a south Texas (Maverick Co.) vegetation analysis(shrub/sub-shrub layer). Unfortunately the list of species di...
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