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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

Bee Cave, TX
Container plants for part shade in Bee Cave TX
Dear Mr Smarty Pants, I am looking for plants that will thrive on my covered porch in 3 tall planters. These are meant to help me block an unattractive view out my living room window, so they must...
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Bee Cave, TX
Plant identification
What is the name of the beautiful pink flowers with tiny Orchid-like blossoms occurring now all alongside the highways in the Bee Cave, TX and hill country area? Is it "slenderleaf false foxglove",...
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bee caves, TX
Growing butterfly weed as a girl scout project
We have a group of girl scouts who want to sell 'crafts' at a farmers market. I am wanting to steer the moms and girls in a different direction. I was wondering if you think that butterfly weed woul...
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The Hills, TX
Evergreen shrub for northwest-facing wall
Can you suggest a tall (8-10') evergreen shrub for a site against a northwest-facing wall which gets no sun in the winter but full sun in the summer? Texas sage got too leggy and viburnum will be to...
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Lakeway, TX
Oaks emitting substance in Lakeway TX
We have two large oak trees in our yard that are emitting a clear, very sticky, non-fragrant substance. The leaves are beginning to be covered as is our deck. Bees are now attracted and I am worried ...
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Lakeway, TX
Problems with non-native King Sago Palm
My king sago palm has not branched out in over a year. I think it needs to be fertilized. What can I do?
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Lakeway, TX
Screening Planter Recommendations for Lakeway TX
I live in Lakeway in a townhome. The parking lot is directly in front of my unit so I always see headlights and cars. The HOA has agreed to build a planter about 4 feet high to help hide the cars. W...
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Lakeway, TX
Non-native Paulownia tree roots around pool in Austin
We live in Lakeway (basically Austin) and planted a Paulownia tree in our back yard. It is growing well. However, since we planted it a couple of years ago we have put in an in-ground pool. During th...
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Lakeway, TX
Plants for a dry hillside in central Texas
We need to plant some plants or grasses on a 3/4 acre sloaping hillside which does not get watered. Any recommendations for native grasses or plants which don't need care and will keep the lot from e...
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Lakeway, TX
Problems with Ashe juniper from Lakeway TX
Dear Sir/Madam, I have been living for the last three years in Lakeway, Texas approximately 20 miles west of Austin. In my back garden there are several ashe junipers about 15-20ft tall. However...
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Lakeway, TX
Growing Conditions for Yucca cernua
Nodding Yucca or Yucca cernua: I bought many lovely plants at the Wildflower Center sale on Friday, among them, a Nodding Yucca or Yucca cernua. 24 of the 25 plants I bought are already in the grou...
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Lakeway, TX
Stressed live oaks from Lakeway TX
I have some Live Oaks who appear to be stressed (Ball Moss is becoming very prevalent on some of them) during the drought in Central TX. How often and how long should I water them? Thank you very much...
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Lakeway, TX
Nutgrass in Lakeway TX Habiturf
I just installed a new septic system with drip field. Planted habiturf over the whole area. The habiturf is doing good, but I was away for a while and the nut grass has taken over several areas. It s...
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Lakeway, TX
Seeds or seedlings of Texas madrone (Arbutus xalapensis)
Where can I obtain seeds or seedlings of the "Texas Madrone" tree? Thank You.
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Lakeway, TX
Pruning of non-native nectarine tree from Lakeway TX
Could you describe when and how a nectarine tree should be pruned? Or, give us a resource for such information? Also, when and what type of treatment/pesticide (?) should one use on it in the Austi...
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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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Volente, TX
Evergreen tree for privacy screen
I live out in the hill country in Volente, TX. I'm looking for a fast growing, native evergreen tree variety that would make a good privacy screen. I don't want a hedge, but I do want to replace a...
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Volente, TX
Help with native plants suffering from drought and heat
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, HELP!!! I live on Lake Travis outside Austin and we planted our yard this spring with lots of wonderful native plants. Now most of them look like they are dying (in particu...
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Briarcliff, TX
Mexican sycamore for Briarcliff, TX
I would like to plant a sycamore in my yard. I have searched and do not see info on the Mexican sycamore on this website. Is this not recommended in Central Texas for planting? I cannot find the Am...
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