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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
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
Dealing with poison ivy
Suggestions for eradicating Poison Ivy? I have just a small growth in my backyard. Thanks -
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Austin, TX
Pruning wax myrtles from Austin
I've got some wax myrtles that have grown up in the last 10 years on my property line, completely volunteer. My neighbor has begun to grumble about too much shade on his yard. I'd like to trim them ...
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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
Evergreen shrubs for screen
I'd like your recommendation for an evergreen shrub (flowers would be a nice bonus but not as necessary as the evergreen factor) or small tree with a height hopefully under 12' and a width hopefully...
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Austin, TX
Knife Acacia or Shrubs for Austin
Hello, Do you know if knife acacia is a suitable plant for North Austin? Does it have sharp leaves or thorns? How large and full does it get? We are looking to replace our existing pampas grass...
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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
Failure of older branches on Bauhinia lunarioides to thrive
We planted a sapling of the Anacacho Orchid Tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) winter (Jan, Feb?) and now it has leaves and blooms - but only off of new branches near its trunk, as the old branches haven't ...
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Austin, TX
Transplant shock for non-native Plumbago auriculata
I planted some full plumbago plants that were in containers, in a partially shaded area, they had beautiful flowers when I purchased them, but have since lost them all and the plant is looking very wi...
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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
Information about Maui Red Starflower
I can't find any information on MAUI RED STARFLOWER. I found some in Houston Texas & the card says sun, blooms spring to frost, showy bloom, good in clusters. MY QUESTION was to find out if it is a...
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Austin, TX
Insects along branches of cedar elm
I have a 10 foot Cedar Elm planted three years ago. The smaller branches have what looks like incubating red pellet-like insects in a soft, putty colored glob--one insect per glob. They are all alon...
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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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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
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
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
Recommendation for variety of St. Johnswort (Hypericum spp.)
Hi. Can you please recommend a variety of St. Johnswort for my yard in the Texas Hill Country? The planting bed is on a southern side of the house, and is shielded from afternoon sun by a tree. The ar...
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