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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
Non-native bulbine damaged by freeze
Our Texas bulbine were hit hard this year. The tops are dead, not sure if any roots are still alive. Should we trim them back to the dirt; if roots are still alive, will they emerge again via root s...
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Austin, TX
Privacy and noise screen in Austin
Mr. Smarty, I purchased a home and notice that my neighbors seem to hang outside their garage on the weekends and thus causing some noise. I need some major privacy from this neighbor and I was think...
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Austin, TX
Flowering problems with Mexican Plum and Mimosa in Austin, TX
Greetings, My Prunus mexicana (Mexican Plum) did not produce flowers before its leaves. Can you tell me why? I was hoping to have some fruit this year. Also, as of this morning March 13. My...
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Austin, TX
Thorns on non-native orange trees
I just moved into a new home that has orange trees in the yard. The tree trunks and limbs are thorny. What kind of oranges are they? How should I care for them? Is it ok to cut off the thorns so t...
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Austin, TX
Finding bloom time on "Explore Plants" feature of website
In using your 'Explore Plants' feature, I have noticed that you can search for plants according to their bloom time, but when looking at a specific species' page, I have not been able to discover t...
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Austin, TX
Fruit trees for South Austin.
I live in South, South Austin, just a pinch West of 35 near 1626. I would like to plant some fruit trees in the back yard. Anyone will sell fruit trees, but they don't always grow. What fruiting var...
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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
Trees blooming white in Austin area
3/16/10 What are the trees that are blooming white in the Austin area. They are a full tree and very prolific in the area.
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Austin, TX
Plant identification
Just after the last little rain we got, I noticed a small, inconspicuous plant in my front yard that was sprouting a structure that looks for all the world like a pitcher plant. It is not, however, an...
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Austin, TX
Determination of the sex of Mexican persimmon (Diospyros texana)
Last spring, I planted a persimmon fruit from a Mexican Persimmon. I now have 6 small seedlings coming up. Since they all came from the same seed source - 1 black persimmon, will they all be male tree...
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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
Evergreen replacement for liveoaks with oak wilt in Austin
One day after moving into our very first home and first home in Texas (just north of the Wildflower center in Sendera Southwest Austin) we discovered that all of our Live Oaks have Oak Wilt. After tre...
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Austin, TX
Small, drought and shade-tolerant perennials for Austin, Texas
We need suggestions for small, drought- and shade-tolerant perennials to be planted in Austin, Texas, please.
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Austin, TX
Shrubs and other plants for shady area in Austin
I am looking for what kind of shrubs, plants that I can plant under my very shady oak trees in South Austin. Soil is good, I want to have some lushness under my trees instead of dirt, I have a small a...
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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
Edible Native Plants for a Small Austin Garden
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants (or Mrs. or Miss, whomever is answering this go'round)! First off, thank you so much for all the help you have given me in the past. Secondly, the company my husband works ...
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Austin, TX
Native Texas plants for rain gardens
I am looking for native Texas plants that would do well in very shady and partial shade rain gardens. Do you have any suggestions?
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