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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - February 21, 2014

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildlife Gardens, Trees
Title: Species of hackberry best for wildlife from Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Which species of Hackberry tree is the best for wildlife in Georgetown, TX (just north of Austin)? Your Plant Database says Celtis occidentals is "among the BEST food and shelter plants for wildlife,” but in your Q&A Database, I’ve only seen the Celtis laevigata discussed for Central Texas. Is one species actually better than the other for wildlife? If both species would do well in our area, is there any problem with planting a few of each on the same 5 acres? Thank you!

ANSWER:

Okay, we can see how you got confused. Both Celtis occidentalis (Common hackberry) and Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry) are listed in our Native Plant Database with the common name "hackberry." You can follow the plant link to our webpage on each to learn their growing conditions, etc. On the webpage for Celtis occidentalis (Common hackberry), we found this line under Benefits:

"Use Wildlife: Hackberries are among the best food and shelter plants for wildlife. The fruit is relished by birds."

On the page for Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry), also under Benefits, was this line:

"Use Wildlife: At least 10 species of birds including robins, mockingbirds, and other songbirds eat the sweetish fruits."

This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Celtis occidentalis (Common hackberry) is not native to Williamson County, but is native to Travis County and almost undoubtedly lives in Williamson County, too, but just has not been reported there. This USDA Plant Profile Map shows that Celtis laevigata (Sugar hackberry) does grow natively in Williamson County.

Take your pick.

 

From the Image Gallery


Common hackberry
Celtis occidentalis

Common hackberry
Celtis occidentalis

Common hackberry
Celtis occidentalis

Sugar hackberry
Celtis laevigata

Sugar hackberry
Celtis laevigata

Sugar hackberry
Celtis laevigata

More Trees Questions

Leaves dropping from a potted Mesquite
August 11, 2014 - I have a Prosopis pubescens (Screwbean Mesquite) that I purchased at a nursery in Alpine, TX just a few miles away from me. It was a in nursery style black plastic container. The mesquite is perhaps a...
view the full question and answer

Oak saplings in Boerne TX
August 02, 2010 - Is there anything I can do to kill the oak tree saplings that come up around my oak tree? I have a nice raised flower bed around the tree and now it's full of these saplings. Thanks for your help...
view the full question and answer

Cold hardiness of native Wild Olive in Austin
October 11, 2008 - I am considering purchasing a Mexican/Texas Olive (Cordia boissieri) at the upcoming Wildflower Center plant sale to put in my yard in east Austin. I know this tree naturally occurring range extends ...
view the full question and answer

Removing suckers from Escarpment oak in Austin
October 11, 2010 - I have a small but mature grove of Escarpment Live Oak in my back yard. Five years ago we removed the St. Augustine grass that grew under these oaks and since then root suckers have begun to grow aro...
view the full question and answer

Removing Texas cedar Juniperus ashei from Blanco River banks
February 26, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Should cedar trees be removed from our Blanco River banks to prevent them from sucking too much of our precious water before it makes it into the river system? If so, what s...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center