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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

Center, TX
Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
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Austin, TX
Turks cap not blooming in Austin
Why is my Turks Cap not blooming? It gets about an hour of sun in the morning, then shade for the rest of the day. It gets watered with the sprinkler system that waters our lawn.
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Austin, TX
Native sun shrubs and perennials to replace St. Augustine
Hi, I live in Austin and I'm removing the St. Augustine from the southwest side of our house. This area gets intense sun all afternoon, and I'd really like to use a combination of native shrubs and...
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Austin, TX
Plant Identification
I live in east Austin Texas, close to Manor. I was pulling a particular "weed" out of the cracks of my driveway on 06-12-11. This weed has always reminded me of moss rose, but the flowers are not as...
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Austin, TX
Alternative to swamp sunflower for Austin
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I love this forum and have learned so much from it! Do you know of an alternative to Helianthus angustifolius L. (Swamp sunflower) that requires less water and would be m...
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Austin, TX
Fruit on Mexican olive in Austin
Does Mexican Olive set fruit in Austin? Does there need to be a male and female tree or not. How old does the plant have to be to set fruit? Mine is three years old but no olives. I need to know ...
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Austin, TX
Leaves turning black on Agave americana
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants- We have a ~5-year-old agave americana that began to have leaves turn yellow (to black in some areas) just this past spring (2008). A neighbor's tree had started to overhang t...
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Austin, TX
Different shades of green in Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)
I have two bald cypress trees 50 feet apart, but there was very different soil in the two holes. One was a clayey soil and the other was much more the Austin limestone soil. The trees are about 2 ye...
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Austin, TX
protecting native trees during drought
We are very concerned about our mature live oaks and cedar elms because they are so stressed due to the drought. We have lost several of our mountain juniper and I really don't want to lose our more...
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Austin, TX
Gardening books for Austin and Central Texas
Hi, I'm looking for a book for my wife. She is a beginning gardener here in Austin. Do you know of an ideal book or two that covers vegetable gardening and gardening in general in Austin/Central Tex...
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Austin, TX
Locating non-native Bradford pear tree in Austin
Where can I find a Bradford pear tree in Austin, TX?
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Austin, TX
Planting live oak trees in summer in Austin
We would like to plant a few live oak trees in our front yard for shade and animal protection. As it is very hot and dry right now, can we plant now? If not, when?
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Austin, TX
Chile pequin from Spring Plant Sale in Austin
Re: chile pequin purchased at your Spring 2011 sale: it grows, seems to thrive, but sets no flowers and so bears no fruit. It's in terracotta in Ladybug potting soil, on a shady apartment patio. How ...
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Austin, TX
Mowing the multi-species buffalo grass lawn
I am planning on putting in a buffalo grass lawn in an area that is little used. I read that a mix of buffalo, blue grama, and curly mesquite is good for better cover but I am concerned about the blu...
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Austin, TX
Fraxinus cuspidata (Fragrant Ash)
Two part question: 1) Will fragrant (flowering; Fraxinus cuspidata) ash survive in Zone 7b? 2) Where can I get it?
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Austin, TX
Sap drips from Sophora secundiflora
We have an old Mountain Laurel (sophora secundiflora) about 20 ft tall. It blooms pretty well and seems healthy. We are wondering why it drizzles a non-sticky sap in tiny drops. Hold out your hand and...
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Austin, TX
Non-native textile bamboo for Austin?
I was looking for a non-invasive bamboo to plant as a privacy screen in central Austin. Would bambusa textilis (weavers bamboo) be an ok solution since it is a clumping bamboo instead of running?
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Austin, TX
Squirrels eating seed pods of Rock Rose in Austin
Squirrel(s) have been ripping the branches off my rock rose bushes in order to eat the seed pods. Previously we had problems with squirrel(s) gnawing on our garden ornaments. I sprayed the ornaments ...
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Austin, TX
Most ecological grass to grow in Austin
What kind of grass is most ecological to grow in a neighborhood community in Austin? Is Bermuda good? Is Buffalo good? I live in a rental house and there are some bare spots in the yard that I'd l...
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Austin, TX
Native Species List for Ponca OK
I planted daylilies in my Austin garden and did not do well. I moved these daylilies to my garden in Ponca City Oklahoma and have done outstanding relying only on mother nature's rain. My garden in ...
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Austin, TX
Cause of yellowing buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides)
We are getting large yellow areas in our buffalo grass lawn and think this is probably due to grub worms. Are grub worms the likely culprit and if so, what is the best way to get rid of them? We don...
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