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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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Friday - March 17, 2006

From: Springfield, VA
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Wildlife management programs for tax exemptions
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I own a property in La Grange, Texas on which we're considering a wildlife management exemption. Would there be a program that also provides tax advantages for growing wildflowers?

ANSWER:

Unfortunately, I don't know of a program that gives a tax break just for growing wildflowers. However, growing wildflowers for food for wildlife should qualify as one of the activities required to obtain wildlife management tax exemption. In the Tax Code (Section 23.51 (7)), you can pick "(E) providing supplemental supplies of food" as one of the three ways, of the seven listed, to qualify for Property Tax Exemption for Wildlife Management. You can contact the wildlife biologists in Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Oak-Prairie Wildlife District, which includes Fayette County, for possible assistance in preparing your wildlife management plan.

To help you select the best wildflowers and plants you can visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Deparment's Texas Plant Information Database page where you can search for plants for your county by various attributes (such as "wildlife/livestock food" or "small mammal cover") and their usefulness for "small mammals", "nongame birds", etc.

There are two articles, "Creating a Wildlife Garden" and "Wildlife Gardening Bibliography" in our Native Plant Library that you may find useful. Additionally, Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife by Noreen Damude and Kelly Conrad Bender (1999, Texas Parks and Wildlife Press) has a wealth of information. It is for sale at the Wildflower Center's Wild Ideas store and is possibly available at your local library or bookstore.
 

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