En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - February 13, 2014

From: Seguin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Seasonal Tasks
Title: Cutting back plants after frost from Seguin TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


When is best time to cut back native plants after frost kill? Thanks


If the plants are annuals, forget it - they only live one year and are dead already. If they are perennial flowering plants, we usually recommend cutting back to about 6 inches in the late Fall, which you can do now, so you can see where the plant will be coming back up in the spring. Their roots should not have frozen if you had them in the ground, so they will come back soon. If they were shrubs, you will actually be doing your winter pruning. Trim back for shape - then whatever is left that does not leaf out can be trimmed back later.


More Seasonal Tasks Questions

Too late to begin planting in May in Austin?
April 30, 2008 - Is it too late to begin planting in May? I live in Austin Texas and have finally completed my plans for a native Texas landscaping (plants and grass) of my front yard. I'd like to get the landscapi...
view the full question and answer

Oak Sucker Reprise
May 02, 2015 - ----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...
view the full question and answer

More on bluebonnets
May 09, 2003 - When can I harvest my Bluebonnets?
view the full question and answer

Rejuvenating old Lindheimer muhly clumps
October 02, 2015 - I've got two clumps of Lindheimer's muhly in full sun in the western (limestone) part of Austin. I'm thinking they've been there for the past 8 or so years. In the past two or three years, the g...
view the full question and answer

Cutting Juncus effusus back from Bellevue WA
November 18, 2010 - I read your posts about Juncus effusus and just have one follow-up question. When is the best time to cut them back to the ground - before winter or early spring? I live in the Pacific NW. I recent...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center