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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.

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Cross Plains, TX
Native shrubs or trees for privacy shield in Cross Plains TX
I'm looking for a small tree or large bush that will stay green year round to use for a privacy shield. We have electrical lines overhead so I need to keep it a low growing tree or bush that will he...
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May, TX
Plants for pollinators in Brown County, Texas
I am attempting to plant on our family property a wide range of native plants for the central Texas area (May, TX). The flowers, bushes and trees that rely on pollinators, in particular bees, in order...
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Baird, TX
Getting rid of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia)
When I bought my land, there was a humongous thicket of wild plums (Prunus angustifolia) approx 10 ft high and covering 5-10 acres. I raise goats, and have known that wild plums (the leaves) can cause...
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Brownwood, TX
Care of huisache tree (Acacia farnesiana)
I bought a huisache tree, about one ft. tall, last spring. How do I prune, stake, and care for it as it grows? Do they usually bloom in Brownwood, Tx ?
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Comanche, TX
Native vine for fence on youth baseball field
Our community in Comanche, Texas would like to plant a native vine on the back fence of a youth baseball field. We have plans to plant an area of native grasses behind the fence, between the fence an...
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Comanche, TX
Identification of thorny bush
We found a small thorny like bush in our hay field near the fence line yesterday. It has thorns and each thorn has new nodes along the thorn. it is a frosted like white at this time. It is early febru...
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Deleon, TX
Identifying
i have a tree that i cannot identify. the leaf looks like a "pot plant"(yes, cannabis!!), but the leaf does not have serrated edges. it has a long bloom of numerous small white flowers that form a s...
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Tuscola, TX
Plant identification
Near Abilene State Park, a plant's leaves turn purple and it seems to have a pineapple looking growth. We call it the purple pineapple?
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Abilene , TX
Premature browning of bald cypress needles in summer
I have several 10m high taxodium distichum trees in the lawn, with drip irrigation twice a week, and same soil content, and on just one of them, several leaves have started turning brown, it seems to ...
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Abilene, TX
Where in Texas can Vitis rupestris be found for collecting seeds and cuttings
Where in Texas can I collect in the wild - cuttings or seeds from the Native American plant Vitis rupestris? Thanks!
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Abilene, TX
Grass for area under pecans in Abilene, TX
I have two large pecan trees in my back yard. Grass has always been hard to grow under these two trees, but lately all grass seems to have "vanished" and I'm left with mostly bare soil. Is there ...
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Abilene, TX
Plants for shade in Abilene TX
I live in Abilene, Texas. I am trying to find the best plants to fill in an area on the North side of my home, which gets absolutely no sun. The area is sprinklered, and stays fairly moist. I really d...
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Abilene, TX
Propagation of California poppies in Abilene, TX
I live in Abilene,TX and would like to plant some California Poppies from seed. Is it best to sow these in the fall or wait until the spring? Our winters can produce some cold spells of below 20 degre...
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Abilene, TX
Stubs of Texas Star Hibiscus in Abilene, TX
We have cut back our outdoor Texas Star Hibiscus for 4 years and now have a large number of old stubs that the new growth must navigate around. Will it kill the plant if we dig up the old stubs? At so...
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Abilene, TX
Transplanting Esperanza in Abilene TX
I have 3 beautiful Gold Star Esperanzas that are too large and need to be transplanted. How can I do this and what time of year. They are five years old and always return in the spring.
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Abilene, TX
More information on plants native to Taylor County TX
Re: Thursday - September 15, 2011 QUESTION: Am looking for direction to a complete list of plants native to the Abilene, Taylor County, Texas area (trees, shrubs, grasses, cacti and other plants ...
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Abilene, TX
Oak Sucker Reprise
----Original Question---- SUNDAY - JULY 06, 2014 Title: Live Oak Suckers Reprise, Austin TX QUESTION: Referring to an entry dated March 11, 2011 about Live Oak suckers - what happened to the su...
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abilene, TX
Native plants for Italianate garden
Hi, I am looking at buying a house in Abilene, Texas that has an established burnt grass yard. The house is Italianate and requires bold plantings. Is there a way to establish a relatively Italinate...
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Abilene, TX
Hearty, bushy native plants for windowboxes in Abilene, TX
I live in Abilene, Tx and am a horrible gardener. I would love to have window boxes with some sort of hearty bushy plant. Any suggestions, I'm at a total loss...? Thanks!
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Abilene, TX
Proper method of scattering bluebonnet seeds
I scattered about 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds during various times this past fall season. I have read that it is a must to plant the seeds about an 1/8" of an inch into the ground rather than surface ...
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Abilene, TX
Why are there gnats in my houseplants?
I have flying brown gnats in my house plants. Can you tell me why?
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