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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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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
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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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
Webbing on the bark of a hackberry tree.
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants. We have a large hackberry tree in our back yard that has what appears to be extensive spider webbing covering large areas of the bark at the trunk . . and extending well up th...
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Austin, TX
Leaves falling early from red oaks.
The leaves on my Texas red oaks are dropping off prematurely. This usually doesn't happen until late November/early December. I'm wondering if it has something to do with our wet summer, or if I sho...
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Austin, TX
Potting soil recipe for azaleas
I have a couple of Azaleas in pots that need repotting.I can't remember the recipe for the medium I put them in last time other than pine bark mulch. I think there were three ingredients. What is ...
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Austin, TX
Texas Pistachio trees dropping leaves in Austin
I have several Texas Pistachio that are about 13 years old. Despite good rainfall in Travis county this year, they seem to be losing most of their new leaf growth now in early June. Leaves are simpl...
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Austin, TX
Trimming of Pineapple Sage and Salvia Greggii
I live in Central Austin. My question is: When is the best time to trim back Pineapple Sage and Salvia Gregii? How far back should these plants be trimmed?
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Austin, TX
Trees for a privacy barrier
What would you suggest to plant for a privacy barrier along a back fence in Austin Texas? They need to be hardy and atleast 10 to 12 feet tall to block my neighbor's second story view of my yard.
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Austin, TX
Winter expectations for Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides)
I planted some buffalo grass (from seed) in April of this year. Iíve got a nice patch now, though itís starting to brown up some. Iím wondering what to expect from this patch over the winter- will i...
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Austin, TX
Elimination of nutgrass from native flower bed
Nutgrass!*#!* My new bed in NE Austin wraps around a hot sunny SW street corner. Grass wouldn't grow there [I wouldn't water it.] I removed the turf [mostly stickers] to a depth of about 4", carefu...
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Austin, TX
When is Texas mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) mature
Can you tell me the life cycle for the native Texas mesquite? I have found one source that says it matures in 2-5 years, but no other sources confirm this. We are hoping to classify mesquite flooring ...
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Austin, TX
Buffalograss (Bouteloua dactyloides) and buffalo grass mixes
I live in Austin, TX and have visited the Wildflower Center in the past and enjoyed the display of native grass mixes. Can you tell me about the variations of buffalograss mixes... which ones are most...
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Austin, TX
Fruiting of non-native fig trees
Regarding a Fig Tree that I have, it's about 3yrs old. Last year it gave us about a handful of figs and they were good. This year the small tree is full of figs and they remain green. This summer I h...
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Austin, TX
Transplanting suckers on Cenizo in Austin
Our large silverado sage has produced some volunteers, which are now about 1 ft - 1-1/2 ft tall. Is it possible to transplant them or has the taproot grown too deep for transplanting? Also, will the ...
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Austin, TX
Deer-resistant plants for under cedar and oak trees in Austin
I have about 1.5 acres in southern Travis county. It's full of mature live oaks and cedar trees, and the soil is full of limestone. I've been gathering the limestone and using them to create raise...
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Austin, TX
Shrubs with berries for birds and growing small red oak tree
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Recently, I saw a short article about attracting birds to one's yard. The article said to plant "berry-bearing" shrubs, but didn't name any specific shrubs. Could you tell...
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Austin, TX
Dealing with beetles feeding on cholla cactus
Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I bought a Cylindropuntia imbricata from the Wildflower center and it was growing like crazy. I recently noticed a lot of beetles feeding on it. Some are black and some are gra...
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Austin, TX
Removing St. Augustine, replacing with native plants
Hello Mr. Smarty Plants, always excited to talk to the Green Guru himself. I've recently purchased a house in South Austin and am interested in establishing a small, 500+ sq ft, prairie grass and wi...
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Austin, TX
Lantanas failing to bloom, turning brown
The lantana in my front yard does not bloom, is not overwatered but does get watered, leaves turned brown and plants generally have not grown. The lantana in the rest of the yard are in bloom and lo...
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