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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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Monday - February 20, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Watering
Title: Difference between soil moisture and water use from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

In the native plant data base "growing conditions" can you explain the difference between water use and soil moisture?

ANSWER:

Good question. The "water use" involves how much water that plant normally needs, with watering supplementing the rainfall if that is insufficient. Soil moisture is how moist the soil is naturally. Sandy soils will usually drain away quickly after water falling on it, while clay soil has such tiny particles that they compact and don't allow water through, often resulting in water standing on roots.

 

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