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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
Wildflower succession from Austin
I am interested in learning about a wildflower "cycle" (not sure of a better term). I recently saw the Wildflower special on PBS that talked briefly about an area that had wildflowers that naturally...
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Austin, TX
Choice of shade trees from the City of Austin
I have a choice of three shade trees from the city of Austin. They are Live Oak, Elm, Cedar. Although I am happy to have a free tree, I think the choices are not the best for my home. I have a small ...
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Austin, TX
Identification of plant along Austin's Hike 'n' Bike Trail
Can you identify the tall (5-6 feet) lanky woody shrub which is growing on the south side of the Hike'n'Bike Trail in Austin? It is in a small garden, adopted by Maggie and Karl Key, near the new p...
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Austin, TX
Problems with non-native Pink Jasmine from Austin
A week or so ago, I purchased two beautiful pink jasmine vines. The first few days after planting, they did wonderful. Now, some leaves and stems are turning brown and some flowers have fallen off. ...
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Austin, TX
Searching for seeds or plants of non-native Euphorbia peplus seeds from Austin
I am looking for Euphorbia Peplus seeds or plants to grow for skin cancer treatment. Do you have seeds or plants? Thanks!!
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Austin, TX
Round growths on Mexican buckeye
I have two pink buckeyes next to each other in my yard. The branches on one are completely covered in brown, round growths about the size of a pill bug. The other tree has none. Can you tell me what t...
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Austin, TX
Deer resistant, drought and shade tolerant plants to go under oak tree in Austin
What is the best deer resistant, drought resistant native plant to grow under my huge Oak tree? Grass does not grow. Will iris bloom?
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Austin, TX
Is Yaupon Invasive in the Austin Area?
Is Yaupon Holly invasive in the Austin area? Should we be removing it from our yards and/or greenbelt spaces? Thanks for your input!
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Austin, TX
Protection from native invasive trumpet vines
Mr. SP: I have invaders! Trumpet vines from a neighbor's yard, two doors away have taken over and are eating my garage and trying to steal all the sun from my clematis vines. How do I get rid of...
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Austin, TX
Problems with sophora secundiflora
My mountain laurel is looking bad. It has lost of its leaves, especially on the lower part of the tree (it's about 7 feet tall) and many of the remaining ones don't look good - they are curled up an...
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Austin, TX
Smaller trees for limited space in yard in Austin
Follow up to "I have a choice of three shade trees from the city of Austin. They are Live Oak, Elm, Cedar. Although I am happy to have a free tree, I think the choices are not the best for my home. I...
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Austin, TX
Shoots sprouting around base of liveoak tree
I have a Live Oak that was planted in my yard about 15 years ago. In the last several years, small shoots have been sprouting up around the tree base, are getting more dense and spreading into the gr...
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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
Native plants for septic field
We have a new Septic tank and field and I want to plant native seeds on the field instead of grass. Are there particular packages of seed that I can purchase or what else would you recommend?
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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
Chlorotic leaves on yaupon in Austin
My yaupon holly looks chlorotic, it is 7 years old, I do not feed it, just a little seaweed occasionally. I am a totally organic gardener.
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