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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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

Questions From Near You

Liberty Hill, TX
Wildflowers of April wedding in Liberty Hill TX
We are planning a wedding for April 9 in Liberty Hill, TX (78642) and live on several acres. We would like to plant wildflowers on the land to use for bouquets and centerpieces. Could you please recom...
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Liberty Hill, TX
Looking for a source for Texas persimmon tree (Diospyros texana)
I have looked all over for Texas persimmon trees but am having a difficult time finding any for sale. Do you know of any nurseries near Austin or Georgetown that sells them?
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Liberty Hill, TX
Texas Ash
Where can I purchase a Texas Ash? One native tree nursery advertised Texas Ash but the trees turned out to be Fan-Tex, which I believe is an Arizona Ash cultivar.
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Liberty Hill, TX
What happened to the bluebonnets?
I was wondering if you could tell me why there weren't any bluebonnets out this year? I live in the Hill Country and drive to Austin everyday. I look forward to seeing the bluebonnets up and down the...
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Liberty hill, TX
Alamo vine not blooming in Liberty Hill TX
My Alamo vine is not blooming. It is planted in full sun. The vine looks healthy. Should I fertilize, if so, with what.
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Liberty Hill, TX
Coral Honeysuckle suitability for Central Texas Fence
I recently purchased a house in Liberty Hill. My backyard is enclosed by an iron fence (painted). I am interested in creating a habitat for birds, so I'm thinking of planting coral honeysuckle vine...
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Liberty Hill, TX
Problem With Vegetable Garden Soil
We live in Liberty Hill on 25 acres and we are working to restore native grasses and plants. We are ardent supporters of the Wildflower center. I say this because my question is not "typical" of wh...
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Liberty Hill, TX
Mexican Plum not doing well in Liberty Hill, TX.
Two summers have passed since I planted my Mexican Plum. It's in full sun. It seems to have added height but not much width. It's virtually a 7 foot stick with 1 foot branches from top to bottom. It...
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Liberty Hill, TX
Horse ate bark of cedar elm from Liberty Hill, TX
I have three acres with a rental. Planted a Cedar Elm near the porch. My ex-renters allowed their horse to graze around the house. It ate the bark off of the tree. How can I save this tree?
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Liberty Hill, TX
Trimming back freeze damage from Anacacho orchid in Liberty Hill TX
When is it safe to trim back what I think is dead wood on my Anacacho orchid trees (that were hit hard this past winter)? Is there any harm done if I cut back living wood?
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Liberty Hill, TX
Plants for Liberty Hill TX in full sun
We recently bought an acre of land in Liberty Hill, TX. We have a large planting area in the front that is devoid of any plant life. I would like to turn this into a semi shaded area with some annua...
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Liberty Hill, TX
Question about a beetle eating bees
I have a beetle that is about index finger or pinkie fingernail size. I have a bee hive and it's eating the bees by injecting it with an inch long probe and sucking out the liquid of my bees.
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Liberty Hill, TX
Instructions on making wildflower seed balls
About 2 years ago I visited the LBJ Wildflower Center and picked up a sheet that described how to make wildflower seed mud balls. I've lost the sheet and can't find the directions on your site. Ca...
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Liberty Hill, TX
Possumhaw losing leaves in Liberty Hill, TX.
I have two female possumhaw trees and one of them is losing its leaves. I planted both of them in February and they were doing very well, getting green and full. What's happening?
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Leander, TX
Control of borers attacking Prunus serotina
Where can I find information to control borers that seem to attack only Prunus serotina v. exemia?
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Leander, TX
Leguminous deer-resistant groundcover
Please help me identify a deer-resistant leguminous ground cover native to Central Texas to serve as a guard plant in edible-plant groupings.
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Leander, TX
Native replacement for non-native Bermudagrass in Leander TX
We have Bermuda grass. Large patches have died due to the drought and our yard has been taken over by weeds and St. Augustine grass whose seeds must have blown in. Even when the grass was in great con...
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Leander, TX
Fronds turning brown on yucca in Leander, TX
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I live Northwest of Austin in Leander and have grown a spanish dagger yucca for several years. It is 8 feet tall and each spring it puts up a showy spike of blooms. The old fr...
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Leander, TX
Container plant in difficult sun exposure from Leander TX
HELP!!!! I have a large Mexican terracotta pot on my front porch. This awkward area is facing westward, so receives the full dose of Texas sun after about 3 pm onward. Now here's the catch; my fr...
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Leander, TX
Ground cover under live oaks
I have some areas under Live Oak trees (maybe 200 sq. ft.)that remain bare, in spite of trying Habiturf. Soil is dry, poor and shallow. Can you suggest a living ground cover that would not require m...
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Leander, TX
Identification of eleagnus-like shrub
There is a plant on our land I can't identify. It has a tree-like smooth light gray "trunk", with leaves similar to an eleagnus (grayish green and rough on top, lighter underneath). I can't find...
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