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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

Woodcreek, TX
Plant ID from Woodcreek TX
I would like to attach a photo of a weed in my lawn and have you identify it. How do I send a photo? I have been told it may be ground ivy. Please tell me how to kill it without damaging the lawn.
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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
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
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
Native grasses for a lawn in Wimberley, Texas
Is there a lawn grass that will go dormant with no water at all and come back? ..in Wimberley? our native grass didn't survive the drought.
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Wimberley, TX
Help finding and growing milkweeds for monarch butterflies
I would like to participate in your "Monarch Waystation" program. Knowing how milkweeds generally don't transplant well, and I have poor luck getting them to propagate from seeds, could you please...
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Wimberley, TX
What are the pines growing at South Padre Island, Texas
Hi, On a recent trip to South Padre Island, we noticed a large number of beautiful long leaf pines. I asked several residents what the name was but no one knew. I have searched and googled trying...
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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
Small plants for space between stones on a path
We've just installed a stone path (unmortared) near our house and are looking for plants/seeds that would do well in the gaps between the flagstones. Naturally they need to be very low growing and h...
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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
Do white-tailed deer consume King Ranch bluestem?
Will white-tail deer in central Texas consume King Ranch bluestem ?
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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
How Close to Tree Trunks Should Bricks be Placed?
Do you have guidelines as to how close bricks can be placed to trees, particularly cypress, cedars and live oaks? Contractors habitually plant up to the trunk and I've had trees die from their roots...
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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
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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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
Growing Native Plants in Juniper litter from Wimberley, TX
Junipers create an environment under their canopy that prohibits growth of other plants. I have a virgin lot that has been cleared of many juniper but has remaining heavy natural leaf mold containing...
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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
Bouteloua dactyloides to cover septic field in Texas
I need plants that can be seeded or plugged to cover a septic field at a new home on Lake Travis. What about turffalo? Other suggestions?
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Wimberley, TX
Twig girdlers attacking an Elm tree in Wimberly, TX.
I was looking at my small 6' cedar elm and noticed that four (4) 1/2" limbs have circle cuts a 1/8" wide completely around them and they are dead. Is this some insect or maybe a bigger critter? I h...
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