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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!

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Questions From Near You

Dripping Springs., TX
Why is cedar pollen so heavy this year?
Dear Mr Smarty, Is this year a heavier than normal year for cedar pollen?? If so why?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Jasminum polyanthum Deer Resistant and Native?
Are Jasminum polyanthum deer resistant? They are selling these plants at Trader Joe's right now so I'm assuming it's native to our area. But the instructions don't say anything about deer.
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Dripping Springs, TX
Bluebonnets Emerging in December
Bluebonnets Emerging in December. We've seen bluebonnets emerging all over our property in the last two weeks. I don't ever remember seeing them come up this early. What will be the impact on t...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Will Sotol (Dasylirion wheeleri thrive in caliche soil?
I live on a high hill in the Hamilton Pool area outside of Austin. I am looking to plant a Dasylirion wheeleri that I grew from seed collected in New Mexico aria East Of Soccoro. I am wondering if the...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Controlling KR Bluestem
How can I control KR Bluestem in my 55 acre coastal bermuda hayfield? The field has a Farm Road along one side planted in KR, and now the hayfield is about 25 - 30% KR. Summer burn is fairly dangerous...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Apache Pine for Dripping Springs, TX.
Is the Apache Pine tree a good choice for planting in alkaline soil with excellent drainage?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Failure of TX bluebonnets to thrive
We have had extraordinary luck with bluebonnets growing in our driveway of decomposed granite--until last year and this year. The bluebonnets seem to be drying up and wilting away. The ones in other a...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Does Possumhaw need full sun for a bountiful crop of berries?
I planted a possumhaw last year in a sunny location, however as the season changed the plant became shaded by a large Ashe juniper all through the winter. No berries this winter, but it is a young pla...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Germination of golden dalea seeds
I have collected some golden dalea seeds. I live west of Austin in caliche soil. How would one germinate these seeds? What time of year should I plant them? What kind of seed treatment? Should I scari...
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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
Bluebonnets emerging early after cool, wet spring
Typically I see bluebonnet seedlings begin to erupt in the early Fall. But this year, I began to see seedlings almost immediately after my crop went to seed. In fact, it is now early August and I ha...
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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
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
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
Will mowing live oak seedlings contribute to Oak Wilt from Dripping Springs TX
I live near Drippings Springs, TX. Will mowing live oak seedlings contribute to the spread of oak wilt?
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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
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
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
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
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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