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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 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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China Grove, TX
How to prune wild mustang grape vines.
Now that my mustang grapes are harvested. When can I trim them out of the tree top and redirect them to an arbor where I can reach them next year? The main vine is at least 3" across. The vines from...
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Adkins, TX
Transplanting and germination of Pride of Barbados in Adkins, TX
What is the root system like of the Pride of Barbados? I have a lot of new plants coming up in my beds from seeds. Can these be transplanted to a new location easily without damaging the plants? If...
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San Antono, TX
Tree for on top of sewer lines from San Antonio
I am looking for an evergreen small tree with taproot to plant in a very small front yard near the sidewalk and possibly on top of or nearly on top of sewer lines. Would a Mt. Laurel be the choice? ...
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San Antonio, TX
Transplant shock in Mountain Laurel in San Antonio, TX
I planted a 2 ft. tall Texas mountain laurel a month ago. Some of the leaves have turned very yellow and some of them are falling off. The plant doesn't look real healthy in general. I did add s...
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San Antonio, TX
Tree to plant on rocky soil in San Antonio
I want to plant a tree in a particular spot in the yard but after digging down 10 inches I hit solid rock. I filled the hole with water and it took hours for it to go down. It is one of the higher e...
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San Antonio, TX
Edible plants native to Bexar County, Texas
What types of edible plants are native to Bexar county?
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San Antonio , TX
Something eating leaves of Eastern Redbud in San Antonio
I know you had this question a few years back but no answer. Something is eating the leaves of my Redbud (Eastern, I think. There are varying sizes of bites, but most leaves stripped, some to stem. Pl...
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San Antonio , TX
Distance of oak tree to existing driveway in San Antonio
How close can I plant a live oak tree (15 gal) next to an existing driveway. I have about 3 feet space to plant between a fence and a driveway. This is the best spot to provide future shade. My concer...
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San Antonio , TX
Want to Grow Herbs in Pots on Balcony
Nov. 20, 2011 I live in a large apartment with a front balcony. I was wondering what would grow well in pots and fresh herb this time of the year? And will lavendar work for a hanging plant as well...
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San Antonio , TX
Pruning lower branches of Cordia Boissieri from San Antonio
My Texas Wild Olive Tree is about 6 feet high now. I bought it at the 2012 plant sale. This past summer it put on new branches near the base of the tree which I would like to cut off (to encourage u...
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San Antonio, TX
Huisache blooms when freeze is over
I live in San Antonio, TX and have heard that when the Huisache blooms all danger of frost or freeze is over. Is that true? And, this year to date (April 22, 2005) we have not seen the Huisache bloo...
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San Antonio, TX
Western soapberry dropping leaves in San Antonio
My Western Soapberry tree (China berry?) Suddenly started dropping full, perfectly healthy green, leaf units. Now half the tree is turning yellow. There is a second tree in the yard not far from this ...
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San Antonio, TX
Are non-seeding Bermudgrass hybrids invasive?
Since Cynodon dactylon (Bermudagrass) is listed as an invasive species (texasinvasives.org), do you feel the non-seed producing Bermudagrass hybrids would also be considered invasive? Assuming a hybri...
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San Antonio, TX
Failure to bloom of lantanas in San Antonio
Mr. Smarty Plants, We have lantanas in our front yard. This summer the leaves have turned white and they die to a brown color all the while the leaves are "crispy". At the beginning of the season...
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San Antonio, TX
Standing cypress turning brown in San Antonio
Last year I bought and planted a standing cypress. This year several plants came up. The tallest one was about 1 foot tall. After blooming the plant began to turn brown and die. My question: Is t...
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San Antonio, TX
Information on native plants in Canyon State Natural Area
I am the Cubmaster for a Cub Scout Pack here in San Antonio. I am planning summertime activities for the kids this summer. One thing I have decided to do it take them on a hike in the new Government C...
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San Antonio, TX
Shrub or small tree for dappled shade in San Antonio
I'm looking for an attractive bush or small tree that will grow in dry, dappled shade. I'd prefer one that does not form fruit-I don't want the neighborhood skunks visiting my yard.(My dog has been...
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San Antonio, TX
Small oak tree with powdery mildew in San Antonio, TX.
I have a small oak tree with powdery mildew. Is there anything I can do about? Will it kill the tree?
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San Antonio, TX
Burning back Gulf Muhly instead of trimming from San Antonio
A few years ago I noticed that the Center burned back its Gulf Muhly rather than cutting it back. Did that study result in any conclusions or recommendations?
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San Antonio, TX
Are American sycamore or hybrid poplar trees toxic to dogs in San Antonio?
We anticipate planting an American Sycamore or a Hybrid Poplar tree in our back yard but we have several small dogs and are concerned that they may eat some of the leaves. Do either of these trees po...
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San Antonio, TX
Possible transplant shock in recently planted Anacua in San Antonio, TX.
I planted an Anacua tree from a nursery this past November. The tree I purchased was about 6ft tall and was a leftover from the spring. The roots were pretty wound up inside. After shaking the roots l...
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