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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

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 (Driftwood), TX
Propagation of Lime Prickly Ash in Austin
We found only one small what we think is Zanthoxylum fagara or Lime Prickly Ash, Colima on our 8 acres, and the deer had apparently recently broken the main stem. I quickly made 6 or 7 cuttings, dippe...
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West Lake Hills, TX
Live oaks dying in Austin, TX?
I had my live oak trees trimmed in October(it had been over 5 years) by a reputable Austin company. The tree canopies were not very thick to begin with, but throughout the winter, some trees have los...
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West Lake Hills, TX
Native substitute for traditional Christmas tree
Could you give some recommendations for a substitute of the traditional Christmas tree used during the holiday season? The low light/humidity conditions in the home is a challenge under any circumsta...
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West Lake Hills, TX
How Can I Tell an Invasive Thistle from a Native
Mr Smarty Plants, I have some thistles coming up in my yard. I'd like to keep them if they are native, but not if they are invasive or non-native. How can I tell? My yard is a wild area in West Lak...
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Austin, TX
Plants good for repelling bugs in Austin, TX
I need help on what type of plants or herbs are good for keeping bugs away from the house and also something that would be good for in the house for bugs?
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Austin, TX
Mixed native plantings for steep slope in Austin
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: We wrote to you recently about plantings for a fairly steep slope in a park in Austin. We had asked about grasses and perennials. An article about planting on slopes in this mo...
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Austin, TX
Best time to plant wildflowers
I am in charge of the construction of a 3-4 mile nature trail around our organization's property and was wondering, 'when is it best to plant wildflowers?
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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
Sprouts from Live Oak in Austin
I have an Escarpment Live Oak..quercus fusiformis.? I get tired of all the sprouts that come up around this tree..My yard person wants to pull them up or get a roto tiller after them..? I had been t...
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Austin, TX
Non-poisonous evergreen shrub for Houston playground
I would like to know what type of small bush or shrub would be appropriate to plant in a children's playground in Houston, TX. It will be located in full sun. I would like it to retain its leaves yea...
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Austin, TX
More on bluebonnets
Are pink bluebonnets still considered very rare? I discovered several growing amongst normal blues on the National Instruments corporate campus here in Austin. I wasn't sure if the Wildflower Cente...
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Austin, TX
Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Austin, TX.
I live on a corner lot with the backyard facing a busy street. My lot is 4 feet lower than street level. I am looking for a privacy screen to plant along this North facing side. I have a canopy of ...
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Austin, TX
Native wildflowers tolerant of lower water and lots of sun
I live in Austin Texas and have a small bed in the front of the house which faces the east with no shade. I am not much of a yard person so would like to plant some Native plants that don't need a lo...
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Austin, TX
American basswood in Austin
Where can I purchase a fledgling linden tree in Austin?
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Austin, TX
Non-native, invasive Tree of Heaven in Central Texas?
Has Ailanthus altissima been reported in Central Texas? I think we have found a few growing right here in Austin amongst a stand of cedars at a residential property off of 1826 (near where 1826 hits ...
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austin, TX
Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
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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
Introduced invasive Melia azedarach along Shoal Creek in Austin
Along the Shoal Creek Trail in Austin are many flowering trees with sparse clusters of small pink/purple, star-shaped flowers with a dark red center stalk, blooming now in April. They have a fragrance...
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Austin, TX
Plant replacements for non-native invasives in Austin, TX
I live in Austin, TX, I have a large lot and small house. I want to do some selective planting on the back half of my lot. Currently there are large live oaks, cedar elm. hackberry, cedar, Texas persi...
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Austin, TX
Is non-native Chinese fringe flower deer resistant from Austin
Is Chinese fringe flower (chinense var. rubrum) considered to be deer resistant?
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Austin, TX
Planting time for black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
When is the best time to plant Black-eyed Susan seeds in Central Texas?
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