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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

Dripping Springs, TX
Do Deer Eat Orchid Trees?
I have planted three anacacho orchid trees, however we have a lot of deer around us. Is this a tree they will want to eat? Do you have any ideas to keep deer away?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Bugs eating new growth on Mountain Laurel shrubs from Dripping Springs TX
What is eating the new growth on my mountain laurel shrubs? One plant has red bugs and the other has black (could they be love bugs?). Is there something I can do to preserve the new growth?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Root ball disintegrating on Arroyo sweetwood from Dripping Springs TX
I just purchased a arroyo sweetwood in a 5 gallon container and when I went to put it in the ground the root ball completely fell apart. I put it in the ground and watered it really good. What are its...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Weedy buffalo grass from Dripping Springs, TX
I have a buffalo grass lawn. It is thin and filled with weeds. I would like to find a solution to improve my lawn. I prefer a native grass but I need to be able to control the weeds and I am not ph...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Pros and cons of live oak leaves left on ground in Dripping Springs TX
What are the pros or cons of leaving live oak leaves on the ground around trees or bushes?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Pruning Agarita in the Winter
I recently came upon a small grouping of agarita plants that had been somewhat choked by cedar. Having removed the cedar I noticed there were quite a lot of dead branches within the shrubs. Would Fe...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Information on non-native, invasive pampas grass
Our neighborhood is doing a community landscaping project and pampas grass has been suggested. Is there a good article related to invasives that specifically mention pampas grass?
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DRIPPING SPRINGS, TX
Identification of 3 small flowers in Hays County, Texas
Trying to identify three (3) wildflowers growing on my property in the northwest corner of Hays Co, all very, very small blooms of about 1 cm. (roughly 1/4 inch): (1) small white blooms with five peta...
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Dripping Springs, TX
What's invading my bermuda grass?
Our grass is being totally overrun by this weed.(I don't know what the name is identify it by the description. It is in Bermuda grass and the only way to describe the weed is to say it looks like big...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Spots on persimmon tree leaves from Dripping Springs TX
We are in rural Hays County Texas off Hamilton Pool Rd Texas. Large persimmon trees are turning yellow, blackish spots on underside of leaves. What do we do?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Advisability of growing Silybum marianum (Milk thistle)
I just received a load of clay-mix-dirt - and after our recent rains noticed the pile sprouting what looks like "Milk Thistle." Lots of them. The leaves are spiny and variegated - quite pretty. ...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Need plants beneficial or attractive to bees in Dripping Springs, TX
Can you provide a specific list of plants beneficial or attractive to honey bees in the Texas Hill Country (we raise bees in Dripping Springs, TX.) Thanks.
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Dripping Springs, TX
Invasive thistles in wildflower field from Dripping Springs TX
How to get rid of "native" thistles.. I have a large natural field that used to grow a variety of wildflowers, but in 2011 and 2012 it was taken over by thistles. I'm sure they are "native" Texas...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Sumac Leaves Turning Red
Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently planted a flowering sumac bush. Is it normal for that plant to get fall leaf-color? About a week after planting it, the temp reached the mid-30s, and after that, I ...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Brown leaves on Burr Oak from Dripping Springs TX
We have recently planted a 15 gal. burr oak in an correct hole with great soil and plenty of watering in. We have noticed some brown leaves. Should we be worried?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Berry-looking parasites on live oak leaves
Dripping Springs TX Live oaks. What are these berry looking parasites on my tree's leaves. As many as 4 1/4 in berries per leaf. I have 3 acres with dozens of liveoaks all having them on the leav...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Native nightshade that is a host to hornworm-hawk's eye moth
Is there a native nightshade that serves as a host to tomato hornworm/hawks eye moth? I like the moth and as a gardener do not like the hornworm. I would like to have a patch of not terribly toxic nig...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Large oak with possible Laetiporus fungus
We have a huge oak tree in front of our new house. After the first rain this fall a large fungal growth appeared in an old knothole of the tree and I would guess that it is Laetiporus. A neighborho...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Native Plant Suggestions for Dripping Springs
I have a very dry commercial property in Dripping Springs TX where the dry sand/dust isn't a good rain conductor (whenever we get rain). What can we plant there? We have no irrigation and use a rai...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Severely cutback sloping soil in Dripping Springs TX
We have 5.5 acres off Henly Loop just north of Hwy 290 about 10 miles west of Dripping Springs, TX. The former property owners carved out soil from a sloping area to get soil for the driveway. Doing ...
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Dripping Springs, TX
History of the Texas Bluebonnet
Hi, I'm working on an article for a newspaper and wondered if you could point me in the right direction to find out the history of the bluebonnet. When did it become the state flower? Is it really il...
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