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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
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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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
Plant identification of red flower in Austin
What is the plant I have seen in urban landscapes in Austin, Texas, that have bright red flowers at the terminus of what looks like a spray of green, jointed, drooping branches (or stalks). It forms ...
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Austin, TX
Why are small leaf pieces aligned on top of exposed root?
Hi. An oak tree in my yard has one of its exposed roots covered in hundreds of small pieces of leaves. The pieces follow exactly the shape of the root above the surface. What insect would do this and...
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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
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
Loss of leaves on yaupon in Austin
Last winter I planted a Pride of Houston yaupon. Currently, the leaves at the tips of its stems are green and healthy, but the leaves along the stems are turning dark brown and falling off. Does...
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Austin, TX
Possibility of hydrophobic soil in Austin, TX.
I believe I have an area in my garden with “hydrophobic soil”: no matter how much or how slowly I water, it just beads up and rolls off and the soil beneath remains cement dry and powdery. In my readi...
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Austin, TX
Failure to bloom of Tecoma stans in Austin
We Planted a Yellow Esperanza shrub 2 years ago that was blooming when we purchased it. It bloomed very little last year and not at all this year. It looks very healthy and each year gets about 10 f...
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Austin, TX
Replacement for non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
I would appreciate your assistance with some native plant options to replace Italian Cypress trees in the Arboretum area of Austin, TX. I have 12 of the trees on the north side of the house to obstru...
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Austin, TX
What fertlilizer for live oaks under drought conditions?
In your June 7 answer about helping live oaks survive the drought, you state that additional fertilization may help as well. What kind of fertilizer to you recommend and how should it be applied? Th...
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Austin, TX
Are Ashe Junipers dying from mite damage in Austin?
If Ashe Juniper needles are turning brown and dropping off the trees because of drought, and not disease, do the needles ever come back, or have the tree limbs died? What if the cause is mites, not ...
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Austin, TX
Where to purchase a non-native gardenia
Where can I buy a gardenia plant in south austin?
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Austin, TX
Lavender near Austin TX
Are there places to view blooming lavender near Austin in July 2011?
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Austin, TX
Bluebonnets for wedding in February
I'm getting married in February 2009. My father passed away when I was younger and thus, won't be there to walk me down the aisle. His favorite flower was bluebonnets and I would like to include t...
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Austin, TX
Non-native Tradescantia spathacea in Austin
Can a moses in the cradle (Tradescantia spathacea) plant be planted in a landscape setting with part sun of up to six hours in this texas heat?
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Austin, TX
Should Texas live oaks be mulched under drought conditions?
Should we mulch our live oaks in pastures for water retention?
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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
Texas madrone trimmings for a wedding
Looking for Texas madrone tree trimmings needed for a special wedding.
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