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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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Valley Spring, TX
Growing live oaks from acorns
What is the best way to grow Live Oaks from acorns?
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Cherokee, TX
Vine for a fence in San Saba County, Texas
I want to plant vines on a deer proof fence close to my house for privacy. Are there any vines that stay green year round? Also what breed of vine would you recommend for several hundred feet of fenc...
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Llano, TX
Planting Anacacho orchid tree in Llano, TX
Re Bauhinia lunarioides: I'm trying to pick a good site in Llano Co for a 5 gal tree I received as a gift. Your plant database says part shade. The arid zone trees publication you reference in a...
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Llano, TX
Freeze damage on Barrel Cactus in Llano TX
I believe my barrel cactus has freeze damage. The flesh turned yellow and is now turning dark. The base is still green. If I cut off the damaged top portion, leaving the green base, should it survive?...
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Llano, TX
What is the orange vine that is covering the wildflowers from Llano, TX?
What is the invasive orange vine that is covering the wildflowers on Texas highways?
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Llano, TX
Can trees survive if trunks are buried under 3-5 ft of soil?
We have two cedar elms and a mesquite that I protected from backfill as our Texas Hill Country lot was leveled in preparation for building a house. The bulkheads are now holding back 3' to 5' of ma...
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Llano, TX
High mowing equipment for Llano TX
We're trying to follow your wildflower meadow recommendation "if your meadow has tall, warm-season native grasses, wait until late summer or early fall to mow, allowing them to elongate, flower, and...
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Llano, TX
Trimming a bur oak in Llano, TX
We have a beautiful, large Burr Oak next to our house. This tree has many large lateral branches. I have trimmed dead branches, but no other trimming. It grows a lot of "suckers" during growing sea...
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Llano, TX
Texas sage near a granite outcropping from Llano TX
I have a large granite outcropping near my house. There are pockets that have spring flowers growing in them and is just beautiful in the spring. I want to plant other native plants in and about the g...
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Llano, TX
Native replacement for Mexican heather in Llano, TX
Please suggest a native or adaptable alternative plant for Mexican Heather.
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Llano, TX
Propagation of yellow columbine
I purchased a yellow columbine, Aquilegia chrysantha and your website says it grows in moist upland soils, and yet it shows their habitat as Utah, Arizona, NM, and sw Texas. Tell me how it can...
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Llano, TX
What is the pH of Bald Cypress needles?
What is the pH of Bald Cypress needles?
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Llano, TX
Native Substitute for Boxwood in Llano, TX
I love boxwood because it's evergreen & provides a great backdrop to my flowers w/o taking over the bed. However, I'm trying to stick with native plants, so can you provide a native alternative to b...
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Kingsland, TX
Plant Identification
What is the common purple flower found in fields that has a yellow flattened oval berry like pod after blooming? Leaves are grayish green. I am thinking in the nightshade family? It is a bane to a pas...
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Kingsland, TX
Germination of Sophora seeds, and Dodder identification in Kingsland, TX.
Our Mt. Laurel has just produced seeds. Can those be scarified and planted now or do they have to dry out. Also what is the stringy orange substance that gets on bluebonnets and other wildflowers ...
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Kingsland, TX
Highway construction in wildflower areas from Kingsland TX
I see no other link to contact about this, except for you. Maybe you can direct me. I just drove Hwy 281 South and a lot of road construction is being done. For many years that I've noticed, there ...
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Kingsland, TX
Promoting bloom of crossvine
I planted a crossvine a couple of years ago and it has grown quite well, climbing well up the Mesquite tree it was planted under. However, it has never bloomed. I was really looking forward to those...
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Kingsland, TX
Groundcovers for Kingsland TX
I am looking for a list of native ground covers and grasses(not lawn grass).
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Kingsland, TX
Holding an Acer rubrum in a container for two years
Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am thinking about ordering a Red Maple tree that is cultivated from Mount Vernon. I appreciate the historic nature of such a tree. The tree will be shipped to me and is ...
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Mason, TX
Foundation plants unlikely to provide good shade for rattlesnakes in TX
I would like to plant native grass around my new home in the country near Mason, TX. My concerns are the rattlesnakes that are common here, and if they could "hide" in the native grasses since they ...
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Mason, TX
Buffalograss for Mason County, TX
I am interested in planting buffalo grass at a ranch home in between Mason and Fredericksburg, TX. I've read buffalograss doesn't do well in sandy soils, which this area (Hilda, TX) seems to have a ...
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