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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

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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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
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
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
Native plants for full sun in Austin
I am looking for a tough, native TX plant to put in full sun location between the sidewalk and street. I would love for it to flower all summer. There is some irrigation but not much. I don't want ...
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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
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
Non-native Pride of Barbados for Austin
When does the Pride of Barbados need to be planted and where would I find a nursery that carries them?
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Austin, TX
Native grasses for erosion control
I have moved into a home that had vinca covering the front yard which slopes to the sidewalk (18'x15'). I have removed 3/4 of the vinca by the roots and have placed several gulf coast muhly across ...
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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
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
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
How can I control Rescue Grass in my newly seeded prairie restoration?
Hello, This past fall I solarized the existing turfgrass in my front yard and seeded with the native tallgrass prairie grasses and wildflowers. My goal is to restore a small patch of tall grass pr...
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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
Does a cenizo really predict rain in Austin?
Mr. Smarty Plants, folklore has it that the flowering of Cenizo (aka Barometer Bush) is a predictor of rain fall. The Cenizo in South Austin is blooming profusely right now. Does this portend a Noac...
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Austin, TX
Privacy hedge for shady area
We are looking to plant a privacy hedge around the perimeter of our yard that will grow to 6 or 8 feet tall - some of the perimeter is exposed to sun and we will likely go with evergreen sumac - howev...
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Austin, TX
Trees and shrubs for South Austin
I live in South Austin about 5 miles east of LBJ Wildflower Center. Soil: about 2" apparently amended, about 2 inches black soil, then hard caliche. What trees or large shrubs would be able to sur...
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Austin, TX
Plants to slow water runoff in Austin
What native plants (rocky northwest Austin) will block water runoff? It seems as if something deep-rooted and densely growing would help. Grass comes to mind, but the area gets at best 2 or 3 hours of...
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Austin , TX
Caring for non-native African violet
How do you care for the African violet?
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