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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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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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Questions From Near You

San Antonio, TX
Looking for a seedless variety of Desert Willow in San Antonio.
Is there a seedless (podless)variety of the Desert Willow tree that also has the dark burgundy color? If so, do you know who sells it in the central Texas area?
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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
Plant identification
I have a plant in my yard about 3' high, narrow pointy smooth leaves covered with small berries that are turning purple. What is this? a weed? should I eliminate it from my xeriscape garden or wel...
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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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San Antonio, TX
Inadvisability of overseeding winter rye with wildflowers
I've recently had such phenomenal success with winter rye seed that I'm looking for a spring wildflower seed mix to dress over the same area -- a thin-soiled and pretty bare open-sun (and sprinkler-...
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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
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
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
Possible identification of Stemless Evening Primrose
Recently, in a very dry area, some interesting plants have emerged. The plant looks like a very short dandelion but the yellow flowers look like yellow morning glories. The flowers are open in the m...
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San Antonio, TX
Native range of Osage orange tree
I found a "bois d'arc" or Osage Orange Tree in a San Antonio park. Is this very unusual? I thought they were mainly in East Tx as I had never seen one here before.
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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
Prediction on 2007 wildflower blooming chances
Do you have a prediction on the wildflower season this year? Last year was very poor compared to other years and my sister from Georgia is wanting to visit this spring to go on wildflower expeditions...
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San Antonio, TX
Locating wildflowers for school project in March
I have been assigned a school project to collect 10 wildflowers by March. I don't see any around to collect this time of year. Do you know where I could find some? I live in San Antonio.
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San Antonio, TX
Should grape vines be covered in winter from San Antonio
Do I need to cover grape vines in winter?
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San Antonio, TX
Information about pre-1920s biodiversity near San Antonio
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I am transforming my .3 acre urban yard three miles north of downtown San Antonio into a native wildscape. I am planting all native plants using your website, books, and nea...
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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
Understory shrub for shady area in San Antonio
We would like to plant a small understory tree/shrub in an odd space that our new deck has created between our fence line and the house. A mature mountain laurel would be our dream but I think there ...
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San Antonio, TX
When is best time to plant seeds of Texas Nightshade in San Antonio, TX?
I need to know the time to plant seeds of Texas Nightshade. Can I plant them now ( August ), or wait till fall or spring?
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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
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
Leaves dropping on evergreen sumac in San Antonio
I have a large evergreen sumac in my back yard that started off as a small shrub 10 years ago. This summer the leaves turned red and now have dropped off. Is the plant dead? It sent out two smaller pl...
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