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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.

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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!

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Sunday - April 24, 2011

From: Chilton , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Identification
Title: Identification of trees in Georgetown and Austin area from Chilton TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently visited Georgetown,Texas and the Austin, Texas area. There were many multi-trunk trees in yards and in landscaping at the hotel we stayed at. What kind of trees are these multi-trunk trees? They appeared to be an oak or some sort of native tree. They grew about 20 to 30 foot tall, and the trunks were very rarely straight.

ANSWER:

We don't have a clue. Your description could fit literally hundreds of different tree and shrubs, both native and introduced. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which those plants grow as natives. We don't know if they are small or large, if they grow in sun or shade, nor how they  bloom. In commercial landscapes, a great many non-natives are employed, which will not be in our Native Plant Database. Even had you asked at the hotel, the person you spoke to probably would not know.

If you want to make the effort, and IF they were natives, you could search on our Native Plant Database. Go to our Recommended Species section, click on Central Texas on the map, and then search on either "tree" or "shrub" under General Appearance; you would get 33 results on trees, and 28 shrubs. Clicking on the plant link on each will give you our webpage on that plant, with description and some small pictures. Clicking on a picture will give you a larger view.

Or, reversing the procedure, forget the trees you saw, and search for one suitable to your purposes. Go to Recommended Species, again selecting Central Texas, and on the sidebar at the right-hand side of the page, select "tree" under General Appearance, the amount of sun you have where you want to plant, even projected height. Again, follow the plant links, reading soil and moisture requirements, benefits and propagation instructions, bloom color and time and so forth. As you get accustomed to our Native Plant Database, you will discover all sorts of ways to get information, not just plant identification but the right plant for the right place in your garden.

 

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