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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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Sunset Valley, TX
Variation in leaves for Vitis mustangensis
Hi, I am doing a sculpture of a mustang grape vine in limestone. In seeking a good leaf image I notice that there are both roundish shaped leaves and highly divided or "fingered" shapes on your sit...
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Austin , Texas, TX
Clipping of beans from newly planted Tecoma stans
I purchased a Esperanza Plant in a pot from a nursery in April of 2008. We planted it and it is doing fine, but came with blooms and beans. Do I need to do clip or prune the beans at this stage of g...
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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
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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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 trees with yellow fall leaves
Hello, I want to plant a medium sized tree in my back yard that has yellow foliage in the fall. I've seen Yellow (in the fall) trees in my part of town (south Austin around West William Cannon)th...
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Austin, TX
Red oak (Quercus shumardii or Q. buckleyi) for small yard.
Hello, I want to plant a red oak but my yard is not large. I'm looking for a red oak that is medium size in width. The height is not so much of a concern. From what I've read, the Shumard is m...
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Austin, TX
Replacement for non-native Sago palms in Austin
We have two pillars, one on each side of our front door. There is a sago palm in front of each pillar. It is a dramatic and beautiful look, but the palms, facing north and in shade, are growing so tha...
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Austin, TX
Larvae infesting Mexican white oak
What larvae/worm would dwell and eat the inside of a Mexican White Oak? I planted one last November and it was doing great. The bark started cracking towards the bottom but the top was very full & gre...
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Austin, TX
Management of xeriscape garden and rock mulch
I have a large xeriscape garden; unfortunately, it is located near some pear trees which drop tons of leaves each fall/winter. The garden is difficult to clean of leaves until I cut back the plants. ...
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Austin, TX
Getting rid of King Ranch bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum)
I ranch approximately 1500 acres of land seven miles southeast of Marble Falls , Texas . At present, the land is inundated with King Ranch Bluestem; which as you know, kills by smothering all other na...
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Austin, TX
Tough grasses for shade
What kind of grass/groundcover can I put in our backyard that is shady/dry and has 50 lb. high energy dog traffic? Was considering Horse Herb but not sure, as it sounds like you can't get rid of it,...
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Austin, TX
Need to Control Giant Ragweed in Wildflower Field in Austin, Texas
I have an acre pond around my business park planted with several different kinds of wildflowers. I let all the vegetation grow until the first frost, because I have wildflowers that grow throughout ...
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Austin, TX
Curb appeal for sale of house
Help! We're selling our house soon and need to redo our flowerbeds in the front of the house (facing north, gets partial sunlight throughout the day) in the coming weeks but don't have a clue where...
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Austin, TX
Cenizo as a Foundation Plant in Austin
We live next to the wildflower center. We would like to plant "Leucophyllum frutescens". We are hoping to use this as a foundation plant. Will it survive if planted in Dec. Please offer any tips ...
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Austin, TX
Bumelia sending up shoots in Austin
I have a bumelia that is sending up shooters everywhere in my yard. Everywhere!! I started to dig them up, but many come from deep roots and my digging seems to have encouraged the tree to send up m...
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Austin, TX
How close can I plant Mountain Laurels to my house in Austin, TX?
Hello, I'm interested in planting 2 or 3 Texas Mountain Laurels on the side of my house and I'm wondering just how close is safe. I've been told that planting trees too close can damage the slab f...
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Austin, TX
Determine oak wilt in red oaks
I am concerned my red oaks have oak wilt. How can I tell what is wrong with them?
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Austin, TX
Looking for an apple tree to plant in Austin, TX.
I want to plant an apple tree in my yard that bears fruit and will provide habitat and shade. Are any varieties that will do well in the South Austin area? And do I have to plant two trees to get fru...
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Austin, TX
Protecting live oaks when removing jasmine in Austin
Thank you for your answer to my question of eliminating a 25-year-old bed of Asian Jasmine. I have another question. There is a stand of live oak trees in this bed and as we are digging out the jasmi...
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