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?

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

Native, non-invasive plants for Canaan Valley, WV
April 23, 2006 - I recently purchased a home on an acre of land in the middle of Canaan Valley, WV. The front yard is flat and sunny, the back is on a ridge and is a little forest with a creek at the bottom. The tre...
view the full question and answer

Wax myrtles dying in Alexander City AL
October 26, 2010 - I have a difficult problem with my wax myrtle plants dying. I have 36 Wax Myrtle bushes, approximately 10 feet high and they are dying, one at a time. They look fine and then within a week the lea...
view the full question and answer

Tree to replace Betula nigra (River birch) in Memphis
August 13, 2012 - HI Mr. Smarty Pants, I think I need to replace the river birch tree in my west-facing front yard in Memphis, TN. I have sun all day, but it gets really hot in the afternoon. The soil in my yar...
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

Use of fresh clippings from tree trimmers for mulch in Austin
May 02, 2010 - Hi, The tree trimmers are in my neighborhood (east central Austin) to clear the power lines and said I can have a load of free mulch. I am wondering if there is any harm in using the fresh mulch from...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center