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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
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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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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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
When do bigtooth maples (Acer grandidentatum) seeds mature and fall?
Hello, In answer to a previous question, you said that Bigtooth Maple samaras come ripe around August-September. Recently, I went to Lost Maples State Natural Area, and in their display, it says...
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Austin, TX
Native, deer-resistant flowering plants attractive to bees
I am adding several beehives to our property this spring. I would also like to add more native, flowering, deer-resistant plants that bees love as well. Any recommendations? I live in SW Austin, qui...
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Austin, TX
Sowing grass for shaded lawn in Texas
I'm renting a home for short period of time, hence I would like to make this as simple, but as beneficial as possible. The backyard soil is degraded and compacted so I would like to try and use a "...
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Austin, TX
Bur oak bark damage done by deer
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Just noticed that deer have been rubbing the bark on good sized, but young, bur oaks planted last spring. Mostly in one spot on one side of the trunk. Will this kill the ...
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Austin, TX
Texas madrone trimmings for a wedding
Looking for Texas madrone tree trimmings needed for a special wedding.
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Austin, TX
Identification of native Texas plants from a list
Please identify Texas Native Plants from the list below: Cotoneaster, Bi-color Iris, Greencloud Sage, Dwarf Wax myrtle, Nolina, Spineless prickly pear, Gulf Muhly, Bamboo Muhly, Big Muhly, Maiden Gra...
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Austin , TX
Are there edible nettles native to the Austin, TX area?
Are there any nettles native to this area? I would like to cook with them (if there is a good substitute, please advise). Thank you.
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Austin, TX
Viewing of Texas native wildflowers
Can you provide a general listing of when various Texas native wildflowers are in bloom? Also helpful would be a list of areas where these wildflowers could be photographed in their native growing ar...
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Austin , TX
Trimming of native Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass)
Should Muhlenbergia dumosa (Bamboo grass) be cut down in a similar fashion to other perennial grasses that go dormant in the winter.
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Austin, TX
Determination of the sex of Mexican persimmon (Diospyros texana)
Last spring, I planted a persimmon fruit from a Mexican Persimmon. I now have 6 small seedlings coming up. Since they all came from the same seed source - 1 black persimmon, will they all be male tree...
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Austin, TX
Eliminating bamboo in Austin
Everyone should be warned about bamboo and how invasive it is. My neighbor planted it in his back yard and it's now taking over my back yard and all the surrounding yards. He installed a barrier but ...
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Austin, TX
Panels for greenhouse in Austin
I am building a greenhouse for my plants here in Austin and and will be using PVC panels for the roof. Which would be better for starting and growing plants the clear or the white panels?
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Austin, TX
Ants in outdoor plants in Austin
Live in Austin. The problem is THIS. Ants have invaded our outside potted plants- mandevilla, begonia , lemon tree and violas. The colonies are devouring the roots it appears. Please give suggestions ...
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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
Trees to replace Ligustrums, and evergreen vines for privacy screen
We had 3 ligustrum trees growing along a creek bank in our back yard and under the City of Austin power lines. Our backyard is on a terrace about 7 feet above the creek's flood plain. The Ligustrums ...
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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
Native trees and shrubs for bloom various times of year
I live in Southwest Austin and have a garden that spans the length of our back fence. It gets approximately 6 hours of sun. We currently have two trees (which we think are Bradford Pears) and three ...
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