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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
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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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
Native shrub for north window in Austin, TX
Hello. I am trying to find a native shrub to provide privacy next to a low north-facing window and protection from northerly winds in the winter. I would like to find a shrub with a maximum height o...
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Austin, TX
Beetles in spineless prickly pear in Austin
I have an enormous spineless prickly pear in my front garden. It's about 6 feet tall, and 6 feet wide. It has blossoming yellow flower. However, it also has large colonies of black beetle-ish bugs li...
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Austin, TX
Straw that broke the camel's back.
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I keep forgetting which day I am supposed to water and my St. Augustine lawn has turned into the neighborhood eyesore. Where can I go to learn more about this drought tolera...
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Austin, TX
Non-native squash plants wilting in Austin
My squash plants were looking really healthy with only some yellow leaves which I was removing and this morning the plants just seemed to fall over. Lots of wilting and some of the branches are fallin...
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Austin, TX
Source of Rosa foliolosa for Zilker Gardens, Austin
We're looking for a specimen plant of Rosa foliolosa and I am hoping you can direct me where I can purchase one for the Vee Fowler Native Texas Herb Garden at Zilker Botanical Gardens.
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Austin , TX
Native trees and wildflowers for acreage near San Marcos, TX
We are moving to 4 acres between Lockhart & San Marcos TX. The soil is a kind of gummy black clay. Elms, mesquite and grasses seem to grow well in it. What native trees and wildflowers would do wel...
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Austin, TX
Evergreen shrubs for blocking car noise in Austin
I live on Bee Caves road and was wondering what is the best tree/shrub I could use to block noise from cars? I've seen evergreen mentioned, is this the right one to plant? Also, if there are existing...
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Austin, TX
Possible reasons for non-fruiting wild plum
My grandfather has land in Lee County with thickets of wild plum, I believe creek plum is another name. However, they never seem to produce plums while thickets nearby on the roadside less than one mi...
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Austin, TX
Possibility of native plants as natural mosquito repellants
I live in Austin Texas and have what I would consider a mosquito infestation in my garden for most of the year. Are there native plants to this region that are proven to be naturally mosquito repella...
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Austin, TX
Low water lawn for Austin
I am interested in finding out more about low water lawns and was wondering if you have resources you might suggest. We have replanted with varying types of grass several times and my front lawn cont...
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Austin, TX
Native plants for limestone ledge with thin soil in Austin, TX
My back yard is essentially a limestone ledge with less than an inch of soil on the top in full sun. What native plants can live in this environment? Since I can't really dig a hole, maybe I should...
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Austin , TX
Best planting time for wildflower seeds in Austin, TX
When would be the best time to plant wild flower seeds and mow an area where we want to grow wild flowers in Austin Texas?
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Austin, TX
Vehicle friendly oak trees for Austin
Do Chinquapins, Shumards or Live Oaks produce lots of tree sap? I'm looking for a vehicle friendly Oak tree to be installed in parking areas in Austin, Texas.
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Austin, TX
Noise buffering by native plants in Austin, TX
I live in Austin in a neighborhood that is bordered on one side by highway 183 and on the other by MoPac and the train tracks. Even though I am least a three blocks from the closest highway, the traf...
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Austin, TX
Container Gardening with Texas Native Plants
I live in an apartment in Austin, Texas and want adorn my balcony with a window box this spring. Could you recommend flowers that I could plant that do not need a lot of space to flourish? Also how ma...
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Austin, TX
Possibility of invasiveness of blackberry bush
I bought a blackberry bush from Home Depot last year. My sister said if I planted it in the ground it would take over my lawn. So I put it in a big planter up against my fence, but I'd like to put it...
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Austin, TX
Can I grow Pawpaw in Central Texas?
Do you have any tips for growing pawpaws (not papaya) in central texas? It appears to be at the edge or slightly beyond its range, but maybe if I'm nice to it.. Thanks
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