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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

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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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
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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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
Flowering native plants for Bastrop, TX
What type of flowering plants, trees,and bushes will grow in Bastrop, Texas? I see lots of things around, please help, have never done before.
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Austin, TX
Vine for shaded area in Austin
Hi! I live in South Austin, and love my backyard. It is enclosed by chain-link fencing, and shrouded by (ack!) Hackberry trees. I would like to plant a vine on one fence to provide a privacy screen. T...
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Austin, TX
Native grasses for traffic area in Austin
What time of the year is best to plant grass seed in Central Texas? My lawn is in bad shape due to the drought and my dogs. I am considering replanting with tall fescue, do you have any comments or ...
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Austin, TX
Erosion control on 30-ft. berms in Manor, TX
The Austin Rifle Club has recently re stacked its over 30ft high backstops. We know their will be erosion to these earthen berms. We need some suggestions on what to plant. Our club is a traini...
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Austin, TX
Suggested plants for between flagstones in Austin, TX
I would like to plant something between my flagstones on patio. I am taking up the cement mortar and want something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little traffic. ...
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Austin, TX
Encouraging branch growth of live oak trees in Austin
I recently had an elm tree cut down that was crowding out 2 live oak trees in my front yard. The oaks have no branches on the sides that were next to the elm. The elm stump is still there. I need to ...
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Austin, TX
Invasive common giant mustard
I have been seeing a lot of a small shrubby plants with yellow flowers all over Austin, mainly along roadsides. Back in my day the first wildflowers of Spring were the paintbrushes and the bluebonnets...
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Austin, TX
Locating native plant landscaper in Austin, TX
Help ! I have a 9 year old native landscape -- river rock areas with beds of native plants which include lantana, salvia greggii, rosemary, coreopsis, brazos penestemon , Russian sage, Jerusalem sage,...
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Austin, TX
Care of non-native Primrose jasmine
I have 4 large primrose jasmine shrubs that were transplanted about 4 years ago. They were cut back fairly harshly at that time. Since then, the centers remain very woody... no greenery... but the l...
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Austin, TX
Bare spot in Prairie Phlox in Austin
I have Prairie Phlox in my garden that I have had for about 4 to 6 years. I got the original plant from the NPSOT at their booth one year at the Wildflower center. It is really lovely in the spring wh...
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austin, TX
Is Esperanza a deciduous or an evergreen plant?
I've read that Esperanza/Tecoma Stans is an evergreen. I planted one last year that seemed very healthy, but it dropped its leaves in late fall and looks (at least) dormant now. Will it come back o...
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Austin, TX
Coffee grounds as mulch into vegetable beds
Can you put too much coffee grounds as mulch into vegetable beds?
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Austin, TX
Collecting native plants of Texas
Where can I find native plants of Texas to collect? I am doing a project and I need native Texan flowers here in Austin or around here.
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AUSTIN, TX
Native grasses as low-water option for ranch yard
We have a weekend ranch in LLano Texas and are looking for a grass to plant in the front yard. (approx 3/4 acre) The house is very small and cute but not a real big fancy house. We do have a fence aro...
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Austin, TX
Muscari neglectum image
I am doing a school project and found a native plant on the native plant information network image gallery. It is plant NPIN Image Id 524. What is it's name?
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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
Native plants for dry shade in Austin
I live in North Austin, and I'd like to find plants that would work in dry shade. This area does receive a couple of hours of morning sun, and I've had great luck with Hinckley's Columbine. Any o...
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