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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

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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
What about Asian Jasmine and scrub oaks?
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have several clusters of native scrub oaks in my yard. I planted Asian jasmine under them many years ago. The trees look fine, but an arborist has told me that the Asian ...
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Austin, TX
Removing St. Augustine from flower beds
We just had new landscaping put in at our house. We had planting beds prepped and mulched and had Zoysia sod installed outside the beds. The yard before had small areas of St. Augustine growing and no...
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Austin, TX
Fall blooming time for Copper Canyon Daisies
None of our Copper Canyon Daisies bloomed this year. Can you tell us why? They have been prolific bloomers in past summers.
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Austin, TX
Finding a native plant garden designer from Austin
I was at the center today and told to contact you on the website for suggestions on who to call to hire a garden designer to come to my house,lay out a garden and select plants, etc.
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Austin, TX
Ground covers to enrich soil over winter in Austin
I am about to have a baby so will not be working my vegetable garden from about now (September) through the winter or spring. Is there something (a grass, maybe?) that I can plant now that will benefi...
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Austin, TX
Symmetrical Holes in Live Oak leaves.
We have 2 young live oaks - quercus virginianum trees and their brand new leaves show two symmetrical rows of pin-sized holes punctured along the length of them. What could have caused this?
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Austin, TX
Time to cut back Turk's Cap in Austin
I did not find my question answered in the database. My question is: When is the best time to cut back Red Turks Cap? I live in Central Austin.
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Austin, TX
Texas natives that are shade tolerant for Austin, TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for Texas native plants that are shade tolerant....specifically agaves (How about the Century Agave and the Queen Victoria Agave?) and something to add a splash ...
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Austin, TX
Problems with native palms in Austin
We had a large variety of California fan palms and blue sabal palms in our yard that were damaged during the last freeze. We found that several of them now have "spear pull," which means we could p...
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Austin, TX
Should I plant a Beech Tree in Austin, TX
I'm considering planting a beech tree but most of the gardeners I've talked to think it won't do well in central Texas. The main issue seems to be an inadequate dormancy period due to our mild wint...
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Austin, TX
Can a bur oak fit in a small space in Austin?
We recently got a one-gallon pot of Bur Oak. The area around our house has two old live oaks on the NW corner and another large live oak on the SE. There isn't much room on the SW corner for the oak ...
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Austin, TX
Salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas
Do you have any suggestions for salt-tolerant plants in Central Texas? Thanks.
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Austin, TX
Fruit trees for South Austin.
I live in South, South Austin, just a pinch West of 35 near 1626. I would like to plant some fruit trees in the back yard. Anyone will sell fruit trees, but they don't always grow. What fruiting var...
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Austin, TX
Recommended irrigation schedule for Austin, TX
With the very hot summer and the conservation of water so important, could you let me know what would be a good watering schedule? I am fortunate enough to have a sprinkler system so I can set my pop...
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Austin, TX
Viability of Ehretia anacua tree for Austin, TX
I live in Austin, TX and I see you've recommended the Ehretia anacua tree for someone living here. Also, my arborist mentioned it as a replacement for non-native, invasive trees. However, the databas...
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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
Can I grow Pawpaw in Central Texas?
Do you have any tips for growing pawpaws (not papaya) in central texas? It appears to be at the edge or slightly beyond its range, but maybe if I'm nice to it.. Thanks
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Austin, TX
Need information about Pignut (Hoffmannseggia glauca).
I wanted to know a little about Pignut (also called Indian Rush-pea and Hog Potato); botanical name Hoffmannseggia glauca. Is it edible, and at what point does the plant produce a tuber (looks like a ...
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austin, TX
Use of surfactants with herbicide for water
I read the article on frogs and the use of Rodeo. Your answer was correct, but to the best of my knowledge, Rodeo is approved for use near water only because it lacks a surfactant. When surfactant...
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Austin , TX
More on bluebonnets
I have a small field (about 1/2 acre) where I would like to grow bluebonnets and perhaps some other wildflowers for added color. Do bluebonnets need to be fertilized? Should I water them? How can I...
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