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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 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

Helotes, TX
Possible wilt disease in mountain laurels
Three of about 24 of my mature mountain laurels died suddenly, the leaves turned brown almost overnight, scratching the bark revealed no green tissue, the small branches practically cracked when bent,...
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Helotes, TX
Best time to trim oak trees to avoid oak wilt
When is the best time to trim oak trees? Concerned regarding oak wilt if cut at wrong time. Ball moss is not harmful but will it help or harm if trees trimmed. These are large oak trees. Thank you.
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Helotes, TX
Something to grow under a chinaberry tree
I have a huge Chinaberry on the west side of the house. We enjoy the shade it provides and have it limbed up pretty high, but it's located between two 2-story houses and of course drops buckets of it...
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Helotes, TX
Erosion for check dam in San Antonio
What are the best trees for a shallow soil wind break in San Antonio? I am building a check dam (maybe 2' deep by 20' wide tall) over a shallow limestone gully to slow the erosion. the gully drai...
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Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
Possible freeze damage to Texas Persimmon in Fair Oaks Ranch TX
I have a Texas Persimmon tree that is in a green belt. It has leafed out and flowered for the eight years we have lived here. This year it leafed out then the leaves turned brown and dropped. The top ...
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Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
Pruning of non-native abelias in Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
I have some old established Abelias that are leggy at the bottom. Can I cut them back, and if so, how far and best time to do so?
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Fair Oaks Ranch, TX
Taking down a Century Plant blooming stalk from Fair Oaks Branch TX
Our century cactus looks like it's in the final stages of blooming and I read on your site that the original plant dies. Can we go ahead and cut down the tall blooms?
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Gatlinburg , TX
Use of pictures from our Image Gallery
I would like to use the picture of prickly wild rose on a website I am designing for information on native plants. I am designing this site for children and teachers. Who do I contact?
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Rio Medina, TX
Managing non-native invasive creeping yellow cress in Rio Medina TX
Due to my lawn mower dying and waiting for the shop to fix it my yard got a bit overgrown. I was walking around the yard looking at the blooming wildflowers and have discovered that one of them is Ror...
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Rio Medina, TX
Forum for reporting rare plants
Hi Mr. Smarty Pants, I was wondering if there is a forum for Texans to submit sightings of native plants they find? I live in Medina County and 2 years ago had a rare native plant growing in my yard ...
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San Antonio, TX
Pink evening primrose in San Antonio
We purchased the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Mix from the Native American Seed Co. last year. It included Pink Evening Primrose. Their colonization has gone extremely well -- so much so that it is t...
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San Antonio, TX
Small shrubs and perennials, low maintenance, for San Antonio
I am helping my 87 year old father landscape his yard in San Antonio. His small yard is about a block from the SA River, near the zoo, and has clay and loam from the river. He wants very low to low wa...
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San Antonio, TX
Sap oozing from non-native Chinese pistache in San Antonio
I live in San Antonio, and my chinese pistache is exuding copious amounts of a sticky sap from old trim sites and from the trunk itself. The tree is about 12 years old and has been healthy up until no...
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San Antonio, TX
Are grape vines killing oaks in San Antonio
I have some large live oaks growing in sand on some property I have south of San Antonio that are slowly dying one limb at a time. Some large mustang grape vines are growing in and around them and I ...
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San Antonio, TX
Identifying problem with non-native plumbagos in San Antonio
Barbara Medford answered my question on plumbagos..we have the ones that grow crazy in TX (not sure which species, but w/ the bright blue/purple blooms..). I have pictures and wasn't sure where to se...
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San Antonio, TX
Plant identification
For a few weeks now the front of our school has had an on and off smell that to some was like a dead animal. To others it smelled like dirty fish fry oil. Maintenance people came out and found the sou...
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San Antonio, TX
Can non-native Jacaranda be grown in San Antonio
Can I grow a jacaranda tree in San Antonio? Wonder if it can handle heat, occasional freezes, & dry seasons.
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San Antonio, TX
Ground cover for shallow soil in hillside north of San Antonio
I live in the Hill Country north of San Antonio. The yard around the house has very shallow soil and is sloped. Bermuda has a hard time maintaining. Are there any other low growing ground covers that ...
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San Antonio, TX
Locating Rudbeckia cultivar in San Antonio
Hello, I’m searching for one-gallon plants of Rudbeckia fulgida var. speciosa “Viette’s Little Suzy” to purchase either from a San Antonio or area nursery or through a mail order Texas Grower. Is th...
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San Antonio, TX
What to do with ailing live oak trees
We live in far north San Antonio, TX on a 2 acre lot with many trees.. about 25% oak and 75% cedar. About 15% of our live oak trees have not sprouted leaves yet this spring, or have only sprouted leav...
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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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