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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

wimberley,, TX
Is Smooth Sumac deer resistant
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I noticed there was no deer resistant rating for smooth sumac in your plant data base. Aromatic sumac is rated as 'high'. Do you have an opinion on deer resistance for smo...
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Wimberley , TX
Browned foliage on Juniperus ashei in Wimberley TX
We are in Central Texas and have native "cedar" juniper trees. One with foliage that looked brown, on close inspection, is covered with white webs. The foliage looks like it is dying. No worms a...
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Wimberley , TX
Failure to bloom of one of two Texas persimmons from Wimberly TX
Last year my son planted two texas persimmon trees. One is blooming ok this year and the other is not. It does not seem dead. What can I do or is is in fact dying?
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Wimberley, TX
Removing competition of mustang grapes from live oaks
We have several native mustang grape vines on our rural property that seem to be taking over the live oaks on which they are becoming entwined. Is it advisable to remove them or are they harmless? And...
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Wimberley, TX
Using cedar chips as mulch in Wimberley, TX
In TX Hlll Country there is an abundance of wood chips, usually "cedar", which I have used as plant mulch. Since wood chips extract nitrogen to decay, do you consider chips a poor choice as plant m...
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Wimberley, TX
Harvesting seeds on the American basket flower (Centaurea americana)
Where are the seeds on an American basket flower? How do I get them out to propagate them? When can you get them out? Thank you.
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Wimberley, TX
Deer-resistant plants for Central Texas
I live in a community that is overrun with deer, thanks to neighbors who feed them daily. I am looking for TRUE deer resistant plants for beds...they have eaten my lantana, salvia, esperanza, jasmine...
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Wimberley, TX
Failure to thrive of desert willow in Wimberley TX
I have a desert willow. It is always, whether I water it or leave it alone, yellow/ brown leaves, dark spots on the leaves, losing leaves. now it looks sad and not very healthy. Can you please tell m...
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Wimberley, TX
Sources for native plants in Wimberly, TX
Where can I go to find a good selection of Central Texas Native plants. I live in Wimberley and I want to fill my garden and land with native plants, shrubs and trees. I cannot find a place to purcha...
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Wimberley, TX
Impenetrable privacy hedge in Wimberly, TX.
I live near Wimberly, TX. I'd like to grow an impenetrable privacy hedge about 200' long and at least 10' tall and 10' deep (or more) using native plants. I'd like it to be evergreen, drought t...
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Wimberley, TX
Failure of Rock roses to bloom in Wimberly
How do we get our rock roses to bloom. Our bushy plant has grown well but for the last two years seed pods form directly without noticeable blooms
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Copperas Cove, TX
Transplant shock in Chinkapin oak from Copperas Cove TX
I have a newly planted chinkapin oak, appx 14' tall, in the Copperas Cove TX area. It has done great for the first two weeks. Now the leaves are yellowing (June) and beginning to dry up. I water it ...
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Wimberley, TX
Environmentally friendly and drought resistant alternatives to St. Augustine grass
As a member of the planning committee of our property owners association in Wimberley TX, we are researching ways to make our landscape environmentally friendly and drought resistant. We have 60,000 ...
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Wimberley, TX
Flaming sumacs in trouble in Wimberley TX
I planted three flaming sumacs last fall and all leafed out this spring. Then, early this month all the leaves turned brown on one and it appears to have died. Today I noticed that a second one is d...
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Wimberley, TX
Evergreen vine for Wimberley, Texas
I live in the hill country in Wimberley Texas. I am looking for a fast growing, blooming evergreen vine for a privacy lattice wall between small houses. Can you recommend one of several plants? Thank ...
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Copperas Cove, TX
Information about moist stratification
I have some seeds of scarlet leatherflower I'd like to try and I read the instructions under 'Propagation' in your Native Plant Database that say "Moist stratify at 41 degrees".. What does "...
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Wimberley, TX
Cutting back Pampas grass.
When and how much should I cut back Pampas grass in the Hill Country of Texas.
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Wimberley, TX
Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
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Wimberley, TX
Protecting the Texas madrone from construction damage
What is the best way to protect Texas Madrone trees (small, 8'-10') from damage during construction of a new home on a site with some single, some grouped Madrones?
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Wimberley, TX
Insect damage on possumhaw
We planted a small possumhaw in February of this year (2012). It had leaves and some berries and was doing real well until some bug starting eating the leaves and berries. I know it is not deer becau...
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Wimberley, TX
Hybridized Indigo Spires having problems in Wimberley, TX
I planted 7 Indigo Spires from one gallon containers in May and now each plant is about 18" tall. 4 of the 7 fell over about 2 weeks are. The plants still look healthy with no dropped or curled leav...
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