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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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Questions From Near You

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
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
Edible plants native to Bexar County, Texas
What types of edible plants are native to Bexar county?
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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
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 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
Fast Growing Ground Cover for Sun in San Antonio
What is the fastest growing ground cover for San Antonio Texas (predominantly sunny)?
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San Antonio, TX
Non-invasive, drought tolerant turf grass for Brownsville TX
Since Bermudagrass is considered "invasive" by many in the industry, what drought tolerant, non-invasive turf grass would you recommend for South Texas lawns? (Brownsville area)
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San Antonio, TX
What is Carolina Jessamine in San Antonio?
Okay, so if Gelsemium sempervirens is the one photographed by Joe Marcus in the "Explore Plants" section, then what is the actual name of the plant that is in every other yard in San Antonio, widely...
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San Antonio, TX
Dodder
I have seen patches of Bluebonnets that are covered with a stringy,rubbery,orange substance that seems to be choking out the particular patch. It wraps itself around the flowers,completely covering th...
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San Antonio, TX
Competition for sun between non-native loquat and Carolina laurel cherry in San Antonio
I have planted 2 Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry)along my north side fence. I just learned my neighbor has planted a Loquat tree on the other side of the north facing fence. He told me that...
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San Antonio, TX
Pruning tips for Texas Mountain Laurel.
Towards the end of May, I planted some Mountain Laurel seeds in pots. They are about six inches high now and starting to branch out. Do I need to trim off the leaves on the main stem below the branche...
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San Antonio, TX
Dry browning leaves on Monterrey Oak from San Antonio
I have a Monterey Oak that was planted four years ago and was doing great until the last two weeks. It has turned brown and the ends of the branches are very dry and brittle. The root flare was cov...
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San Antonio, TX
Growing conditions for Giant Coneflower from San Antonio
Rudbeckia maxima is considered to be a perennial plant for the sun but I have had a difficult time maintaining it in a pot in full sun before attempting to plant. Do you feel that it will survive and...
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San Antonio, TX
Leaves wrinkling on Tecoma stans from San Antonio TX
My two year old esperanza (planted in the ground) froze back last winter, came back from the roots & has been doing well all summer. Recently one branch has leaves that are nice & green but very wrin...
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San Antonio, TX
How far east to avoid Ashe juniper pollen from Austin?
How far East of San Antonio and Austin do I have to go to avoid the pollen of Juniperus Ashei? Is Bastrop county safe? I'd be happy if it were gone 90% of the winter days - will the wind keep it aw...
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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
Non-native lavender for Texas in San Antonio
I am looking for a lavender (English?) that will tolerate Tx summers, is evergreen, will tolerate some shade. I want to border a sidewalk with it. All help appreciated.
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San Antonio, TX
Shrub to screen backyard and block noise
I'm trying to find a shrub to screen my backyard and block noise. I want something I can plant along the 60ft of my back fence that would get between 8 and 10 ft tall. I would like something that att...
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