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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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

Questions From Near You

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
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
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
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
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
Sophora seeds to give away
When we moved to TX years ago we bought a mountain laurel so we could have the beautiful purple flowers and were disappointed when the flowers every year were white (with a few purple ones here and th...
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San Antonio, TX
Trimming dead blooms from turkscap in San Antonio
Great answer to the Turk's Plant question. But, I can't seem to find an answer to mine. I've had Turk's plants for years and cut them back as you suggest, but have always been confused about wha...
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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
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
Recovery of an agarita having been cut down from San Antonio, TX
I had an agarita adjoining a cedar and a volunteer hackberry in my yard. The tree trimmers were supposed to cut out the hackberry but unfortunately also cut the agarita back to the ground. How long ...
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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
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
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
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
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
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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San Antonio, TX
Evergreen for privacy screen in San Antonio
I am looking to plant native fast-growing evergreens that will provide privacy (growing taller than our fence). We live in San Antonio and the Red Tip Photinia seems to be everywhere! I heard that t...
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San Antonio, TX
Reply on Carolina Jasmine from San Antonio
Thank you for your prompt reply to my question from San Antonio about removal of Carolina Jasmine. Just one note. In the "rate this answer" section my cursor dropped. I meant to give you four stars....
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San Antonio, TX
Plant identification of vine with fluffy-seeded pod
I saw a fluffy seeded pod on our hike this morning. I have seen this vine before, but do not know the proper and scientific name of it. Its leaves appear to be opposite and heart shaped. Could it be a...
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San Antonio, TX
Invasive American Germander from San Antonio
I brought home some American Germander (Teucruim canadense) - page 259 In Wildflowers of Texas by Geyata Ajilvsgi - from a railroad right-of-way. Since it is a member of the mint family it has becom...
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San Antonio, TX
Evergreen sumacs for privacy along fence
I would like to plant enough Evergreen Sumacs along our fence for privacy for the length of our backyard which is 60 ft. Fifteen feet on the left and right ends are shaded with the right side being d...
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