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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
Plants for making dyes for organic cotton
Looking to dye my own organic cotton for my new line of organic clothing and I want to grow the plants for making the dyes in my own garden. Any suggestions?
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Austin, TX
Landscaping with native plants in Austin
I'm expanding a flower bed in front of my house and would like to keep it all natives. 1) How do I find out what type of soil I should add? (I live near Hyde Park, Austin and haven't had a soil te...
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Austin, TX
What are the webs floating in the air? Are they harmful to plants?
Austin, TX has experienced fall weather for the past week..low humidity, nice temps, sunny skies. But long webs are connecting from trees to our plants to the porch. Not on the trunk of the tree like ...
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Austin, TX
Non-native, invasive bamboo for sloped river bank in Texas?
What type of native plants/trees/shrubs/grasses would you recommend planting on a 20 ft sloped bank on the Colorado river in Texas to prevent further erosion of the bank? How do you feel about bamboo?...
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Austin, TX
Browning leaves on non-native Burford holly
I have several dwarf Burford hollies whose leaves are browning. The individual leaves have colors of green, dark brown to light brown extending from the stem. Any ideas?
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Austin, TX
Propagation of yucca by seed
I'm just wondering, the yuccas in town are starting to drop their seed pods. How easy is it to start from their little black seeds?
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Austin, TX
Mechanism for Cenizo bush blooming before rain
Why does cenizo (aka barometer bush) bloom before it rains?
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Austin, TX
Native Indian Rice Grass cultivation as food source
Hi! I'm a student at UT and I ran across a grass while doing some reseach, native to Utah and Arizona, called Indian Ricegrass. It was used as a famine plant among native communities, however, it w...
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Austin, TX
Problems with sophora secundiflora
My mountain laurel is looking bad. It has lost of its leaves, especially on the lower part of the tree (it's about 7 feet tall) and many of the remaining ones don't look good - they are curled up an...
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Austin, TX
Hail damage to Cenizo in Austin
We have some Texas sage Silverado. After the latest hail, they look very sad. If about the half of plant is OK and the other half looks dried/dead?, should we prune the dried half? Are they ever comin...
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Austin, TX
Protecting guavas from deer
I have large guavas that the deer love to tear up rubbing their new antlers. When do I need to re-cover the plants with anti-deer nets to be sure to get ahead of them? One night too late and they ar...
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Austin, TX
Preventing armadillos from digging up lawn for grubs
Over the past 4 months we have endured an armadillo digging up our lawn. We are now seeking a humane method to discourage the armadillo from digging up the grubs in our lawn. Do you have any suggest...
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Austin, TX
Propagating yaupons (Ilex vomitoria)
Dear Mr. Smarty, I enjoy your weekly tips printed in the Austin Statesman. We live in the Texas hill country where the soil is essentially rock. One of the nice benefits of our yard and the are...
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Austin , TX
Excessive nitrogen inhibiting coreopsis blooms
I planted coreopsis in the summer last year and they bloomed profusely nonstop from June 2005 to April 2006. However, this past summer, continuing to present time, my coreopsis have not bloomed at a...
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Austin, TX
Native plants for a lizard terrarium
My brother is setting up a terrarium for his lizard and wants advice on some species to put in the tank. He wants plants that generally fit the below description. Can you think of anything fairly c...
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Port Lavaca, TX
How to grow milkweeds (Asclepias spp.) for monarch butterflies
I tried and tried and tried to grow Asclepias viridis, A. asperula and even A. oenotheroides from seeds and even tubers for fourteen years! Do you have advice for growing these and other milkweed plan...
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Austin, TX
Where to test for Bacterial Leaf Scorch in Austin, Texas
It appears that the American elm trees in my backyard may have Bacterial Leaf scorch. Where can I have this confirmed?
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Austin, TX
Non-native pittisporum disease in Austin
Did Barbara Medford of Round Rock, TX ever find out what was causing sections of her dwarf pittosporum to die out? I have seen this in many yards now.
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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
Planting bluebonnets
How long do bluebonnet seeds take to mature, and when is the earliest in their development they can be harvested? When can they be scattered?
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Austin, TX
Possibility of symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper
Is there a symbiotic relationship between cedar elm and ashe juniper? We have a small ashe juniper sapling and a small cedar elm sapling growing near each other (actually, we planted the juniper 2 yea...
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