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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

Henly, TX
Native grasses that are shade tolerant for Central Texas
I recently purchased acreage in Henly (Dripping Springs area). The property has a large stand of big Live Oaks, Black Jack Oaks and Cedar Elm trees. The area has not been grazed for several years an...
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Henly, TX
Plants for cleared area by creek
Hi Mr. Smarty Pants. My front "yard" is about 2 1/2 sloping acres with a wet weather creek at the bottom. It has been recently cleared of cedar. The cedar is now shredded and acts as a cover to he...
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Henly, TX
Propagating Dakota vervain (Glandularia binpinnatifida)
Dakota Vervain. We recently moved into a new house in Henly--Hays/Blanco county line. Mother nature was kind enough to provide us w/Dakota Vervain in some of our planting beds while we are getting...
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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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Root lengths of Central Texas wildflowers
I'm looking for lengths of the roots of wildflowers of Central Texas. It would be particularly helpful to know the really long ones. Any native prairie flowers or grasses would do.
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Dripping Springs, TX
Native grasses for horses
I have 7ac with big and little bluestem. I'm told big is bad. And my horse eats ground veg and not the bluestem. So I'd love to replant the entire tract with something for the horse, deer, and nativ...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Advisability of trimming oak trees in August
In general,what is your opinion on pruning oak trees in August? If it is positive, should the extreme moisture of this year affect the timing?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Rose canker in roses on cedar posts
While visiting the wildflower Center I saw that some of the plants were growing on trellis' made of posts cut from cedar trees. I made a trellis for my climbing rose bush and where the stems touched...
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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
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
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
Source for Crossvine and time to plant
I live in Dripping Springs, Texas. I would like to plant a cross-vine in my back yard. When can I plant the cross-vine? Where can I purchase them in my area?
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Dripping Springs, TX
Propagation of an agave from Dripping Springs TX
Hi there, I have a Century Agave in my backyard. It is over 6 feet tall and is now producing the center stalk. I understand that means the plant is going to die. My question is how to harvest the pups...
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Dripping Springs, TX
Mowing equipment
My 10 acre property along a creek in N. Hays Co. includes roughly 7 acres that is a woodland / meadow mix. I want to find a mower that I can set to a 6" cutting height, yet anything smaller than a fu...
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