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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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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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
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
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 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
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
Identity of milkweed vine with smooth seedpod
I believe the vine I am curious about may be Matelea reticulata. However, most of the pictures I have seen of that vine show bumps on the exterior of the seed pod, and the pod I have is green and smo...
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San Antonio, TX
Will recycled tire mulch harm butterfly larvae?
I discovered orange butterfly larva in the hardwood mulch under my Turk's Cap. Will it harm the larva if I switch over to recycled tire mulch?
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San Antonio, TX
Transplanting adventitious shoots of a mountain laurel in San Antonio
Is it possible to transplant branches (shoots) growing from a mountain laurel that was chopped down? Some are two years old and several feet tall (but not yet blooming) and some as small as a foot. ...
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San Antonio, TX
How to get rid of nut grass from San Antonio
We just had a house built on a lot that was mostly rock. The small back yard has a berm on which they brought in soil then mulched it. Now we are getting all sorts of weeds through the mulch, what my...
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San Antonio, TX
Non-native red-tip photinias dying in San Antonio
A 17 year old Red tip Photinia in a hedge shows signs of dying. The main stalks are quite large and offshoots from two of the stalks have brittle, drooping leaves. The center of the plant looks norm...
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San Antonio, TX
Fragrant native plants for San Antonio, TX
I live in San Antonio, Texas, and I am re-landscaping my backyard after my dog ate some of the beautiful blooming oleander and had to spend some time at the vet's. My backyard is my sanctuary, and it...
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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
Mountain Laurel slowly dying in San Antonio, TX
My Texas Mountain Laurel seems to be dying in a slow unusual manner. Over the past two weeks the leaves have been turning yellow and falling off starting with the south facing side of my multi-tru...
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San Antonio, TX
Texas natives that attract butterflies but not deer
I'd like to have some plants in my garden that are butterfly attractors, but that whitetail deer won't like. I can find lists of butterfly plants, and lists of deer-resistant plants -- is there a li...
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San Antonio, TX
Planting distance for non-native crepe myrtles in San Antonio
I just purchased 7 katawba crepe myrtles and would like to know how far apart I need to space them. I am placing down on the right side of my front yard. They are in 5 gallon containers and about 5 - ...
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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
Identification of plant growing in Plumbago
Help - I have a strange looking plant that recently shot up in a potted Plumbago. I planted the Plumbago in its pot with Miracle Gro potting soil, and have been fertilizing with Miracle Gro as well. ...
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