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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

Questions From Near You

Austin, TX
Possible identification of native white buddlejas in Austin
I am desperately trying to identify a plant. It looks perennial, is in full sun, is about 7 ft. tall, bloomed white blossoms (similar in form to buddleia) in June, which have now changed from rose-co...
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Austin, TX
Cold moist stratification of Echinacea purpurea
I was looking at your info on Purple Coneflowers and it says: "Seed Treatment: Cold-moist stratification for two months improves germination." What is Cold-moist stratification? Thanks.
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Austin, TX
Cottonwood seed clogging air conditioner in Austin
My husband and I recently moved into a rental house that has a very tall cottonwood tree in the backyard. It has been shedding its seeds all over our yard since the beginning of May and seems to still...
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Austin, TX
Control of live oak suckers by cutting
How do I control the Live Oak root suckers? At the moment we are cutting them as they come out of the ground.
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Austin, TX
Care and propagation of American Beautyberry
We have an American Beautyberry growing on our lot. Before we fenced the backyard it was browsed by deer, and survived by wedging itself between the fence and a juniper tree. How can we: 1. encou...
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Austin, TX
Beetles in spineless prickly pear in Austin
I have an enormous spineless prickly pear in my front garden. It's about 6 feet tall, and 6 feet wide. It has blossoming yellow flower. However, it also has large colonies of black beetle-ish bugs li...
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Austin, TX
Is Texas Thistle edible from Austin
Is Texas Thistle an edible plant?
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Austin, TX
Identification of possible edible huckleberry in Central Texas
I'm trying to identify a plant in my backyard, and in particular, I'm wondering if it's an edible huckleberry of some kind. Given all the rain Austin has had this summer, I wonder if it's not bey...
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Austin, TX
Non-native squash plants wilting in Austin
My squash plants were looking really healthy with only some yellow leaves which I was removing and this morning the plants just seemed to fall over. Lots of wilting and some of the branches are fallin...
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Austin, TX
Repair of broken branch stump on pecan tree
Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, big fan. Recently one of my pecan trees had a large branch break off, about 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The strange part was there was no clear sign of what caused the damage, i...
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Austin, TX
Succulents, wildflowers and grasses for Austin
I live on a bluff over Lake Travis and am replanting two beds in front of my driveway with Mexican Feathergrass and Agave. What other grasses or wildflowers could I mix in with the Mexican Feathergra...
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Austin , TX
Landscape professional to maintain native plants
Had native plants & buffalo grass professionaly planted earlier this year. Have had trouble finding maintenance services for our yard. Any suggestions on how to find a knowledgeable crew? Thanks...
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Austin, TX
Tiger lilies for Austin
My dear friend absolutely loves tiger lilies, and I would love to plant some for her, but I wonder if the short winters here in Austin, TX make growing these difficult.. I know little of growing flowe...
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Austin, TX
Dealing with beetles feeding on cholla cactus
Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I bought a Cylindropuntia imbricata from the Wildflower center and it was growing like crazy. I recently noticed a lot of beetles feeding on it. Some are black and some are gra...
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Austin, TX
Fungus gnats on indoor plants
Hello, I live in Austin and I work in an office where we like to have plants. Recently we started to get these annoying tiny, little nits, how can we get rid of them without harming my plants. Help th...
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Austin, TX
Propagation of Passiflora lutea by seed
How long does it take to germinate yellow passionflower vine seeds? Where can a vine or seeds be purchased? What would they cost?
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Austin, TX
Texas Pistachio trees dropping leaves in Austin
I have several Texas Pistachio that are about 13 years old. Despite good rainfall in Travis county this year, they seem to be losing most of their new leaf growth now in early June. Leaves are simpl...
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Austin, TX
Getting rid of giant ragweed in Austin
How can I get rid of a large field of giant ragweed? Part of the site is a steep slope, which is difficult to mow. I want to encourage native grasses but they are crowded out by the ragweed.
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Austin, TX
Locating free tumbled glass for mulch in Austin
Do you know where tumbled glass can be obtained for free in Austin? You've used it as a mulch at the Center. Someone in one of my Native U classes mentioned that it can be gotten free somewhere in ...
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Austin, TX
Seeds for Fall bloom in Austin
What seeds should I be planting now for fall blooms here in Austin?
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Austin , TX
Invasive non-native Bermuda grass in lawns
Hello Mr. Smarty Pants. My yard here in southwest Austin is the only lawn with Bermuda Tif 419 grass. I am surrounded by neighbors with St. Augustine. I upgraded to this hybrid Bermuda for a number of...
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