Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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?

Share

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

Wednesday - January 15, 2014

From: Ardmore, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Planting, Trees
Title: A Native Tree for Ardmore PA
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I am looking to plant a native tree in my back yard. The yard is small and gets mostly afternoon sun. Thank you

ANSWER:

  That’s great!  Mr Smarty Plants highly approves.  I trust you are in the planning phase, as I expect the weather in PA is not real conducive to digging and watering right now.  Here’s a bunch of resources for planting at a nice time in the spring.   The “Step-by-Step" Guides have a number of instructions on plant care, including an article from Wildflower on Transplanting Bareroot Natives.   Similarly, there is an array of “How-to” articles.  Here you can find an article on caring for your new native plants.

  Of course, you didn’t ask for this advice – but then, all you asked for is a native tree for a small, partially shaded yard.  The best resource we have for this is the lists of “Recommended Species” .  This link is to the list assembled for Pennsylvania.   This list can be sorted for Appearance, Light Requirement and Size.  Once you match this to your yard, then you can “shop” for a look or other characteristics that you like.

There are 19 trees recommended for partial shade and a 36-72 foot height [about as tall as I can imagine in what I consider a small yard].  Ones that catch my eye include: 
Acer rubrum (Red maple), which is lovely, but kind of big
Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry)
Diospyros virginiana (Common persimmon)

For a 12-36 foot height, which may be more suitable to my idea of small, there are 10 trees recommended, here are a few candidates:
Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)
Ilex opaca (American holly)
Sorbus americana (American mountain ash)

 

From the Image Gallery


Red maple
Acer rubrum

Canadian serviceberry
Amelanchier canadensis

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

American holly
Ilex opaca

American mountain ash
Sorbus americana

More Trees Questions

Relocating native oak trees in compacted soil
September 14, 2008 - Can you replant and relocate small oak trees in compacted soil and will they grow or go into shock?
view the full question and answer

Cedar elm with brown leaves
August 12, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We feel we may have limited time to save our beautiful Ceder Elm. We have many trees in our yard (Post Oaks and Cedar Elms) and have been told they are all between 50 - 75 year...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native avocado outside from Austin
December 27, 2012 - My son has a very large avocado tree that he rooted from a pit that is currently growing in a large container. However, it has gotten too big to winter inside. Can it be planted in the ground in Aust...
view the full question and answer

Mulching in deep shade in Round Rock TX
June 22, 2010 - Central Texas: Problem is deep shade and high temps. I noted your advice about danger to the tree when planting beneath shade trees, but wonder if there is a substance - perhaps pine needles - that co...
view the full question and answer

Live oak bark splitting in Katy TX
October 03, 2011 - We have a 7 yr old live oak that looks like its bark is splitting open in branches and top leaves look wilted. If that sounds like oak wilt, do we need to have the tree removed? We live in a subdivisi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.