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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

Martindale, TX
Identification of invasive plant
I have found an invasive plant species in Martindale, Texas that I would like to identify for family members. It is taking over their pasture and is difficult to eliminate. It has not bloomed yet but...
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Martindale, TX
Replanting yaupon in Blanco TX
How do I replant Yaupon in its native area Blanco TX?
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San Marcos, TX
Plant ID from San Marcos TX
My dogs love to eat the leaves of a certain little orange wildflower. It might be Wedelia or Texas creeping oxeye. Have you ever heard of this?
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San Marcos, TX
Native evergreen for shade
Hi, I am looking for a plant that is evergreen (or semi evergreen), native to central Texas, and shade tolerant. This is for a Wildscape area in San Marcos. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!
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San Marcos, TX
Winter survival of non-native Mandevilla vine
Last summer I bought a dwarf mandavilla vine that blooms deep red and planted it in a pot and kept in on my east-facing porch, where its tendrils hung over the pot. I had to move it to shelter for the...
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San Marcos, TX
Is Talinum paniculatum native to Central Texas?
I just bought a plant in Austin called Talinum paniculatum, Jewels of Opar. We are adamant about growing only local natives in the yard so it will have to be a potted plant unless you can verif...
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San Marcos, TX
Dying trees in San Marcos, Texas
I live on 11 acres in San Marcos and cannot water at all during this drought. All of my oaks and mountain laurels are turning brown. Does this mean they are all dying? Will they come back in the sp...
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San Marcos, TX
Grasses for yard in part shade and shade
I have a shady yard with no grass whatsoever in San Marcos, TX. Since there are no roots to anchor the soil, the air (and the house) is full of dust. I want to plant a native grass that does well in f...
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San Marcos, TX
Identification of plant, possibly Justicia pilosella, for groundcover
I'm newly relocated to Texas and find I have a yard with three major types of green growing. Close to the house (and mostly shaded) is St. Augustine. Furthest out front, (unshaded) is the Bermudagra...
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San Marcos, TX
Is Scutellaria suffrutescens native to Texas from San Marcos TX
Is Scutellaria suffrutescens (Pink skullcap) a Texas native? I have found many conflicting answers and even seen it called Texas skullcap on sites that say it's native to Mexico. We will consider you...
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San Marcos, TX
How to tell the difference between native and European thistles
How can I tell the difference between invasive (European) thistles and thistles that are native to Texas? And what is the best way to eradicate the invasive varieties?
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San Marcos, TX
Unidentified stalk, possibly manfreda, from San Marcos TX
I had a very weird stalk pop up in my yard in San Marcos TX this month (May 2014) It bloomed very quickly and appears to be a manfreda but there is no rosette, or leaves of any kind - just the thick o...
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San Marcos, TX
Non-native, invasive Paulownia for San Marcos TX
Can a Paulownia tree grow in San Marcos? If so were can I get one?
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San Marcos, TX
Hedge for a shady spot
In the Statesman you recently provided good suggestions about a privacy screen. I need a hedge that will grow under a huge old oak tree. Will wax myrtle or red cedar work for us? I have yaupon and m...
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San Marcos, TX
Control of ball moss in oak trees
I live in San Marcos, Texas and I have a two acre lot with lots of oak trees. Most of these trees have so much ballmoss attached to them that the leaves and branches are not visible anymore. Is ther...
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San Marcos, TX
Landscaping a Fence with Native Plants for Central Texas
I'm looking to landscape my fence that I've lined with woven bamboo. The area gets the hot afternoon sun in summer and is pretty shady in winter. The plants need to be drought and heat tolerant. I'...
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San Marcos, TX
Pruning time of non-native oleander
When and how should I trim oleanders that turned brown after our first freeze?
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San Marcos, TX
Pruning a Wafer Ash to make it upright
How do I trim a Wafer Ash? It lays on the ground. Is that normal? Does it need to be upright?
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San Marcos, TX
Trimmng and fertilizing yucca
Should I cut the stalks of the Yucca that have already bloomed or wait until they dry? How often should I fertilize?
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San Marcos, TX
Watering a vegetable garden in San Marcos TX
Can you give me a general idea how long to run my drip irrigation on my raised vegetable garden? Currently I use it twice daily for one hour. The soil feels slightly moist but not very damp. Should...
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San Marcos, TX
Sooty mold on Sophora secundiflora in San Marcos, TX.
Dear Mr. SP, We have a Sophora secundiflora that is suffering with very black mold or fungus on most of its leaves. Last year, I washed it leaf-by-leaf with soapy water but it's getting too big t...
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