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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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Wednesday - March 19, 2014

From: Rockwall , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Planting, Transplants, Trees
Title: Native species of tree for Rockwall TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I am attempting to plant a native species of tree 20 miles east of Dallas, Texas (Rockwall, TX) in honor of my brother's marriage. He is a biologist and a huge supporter of native species. I am having all of his closest friends plant native trees in their states in his name. Would you be able to help in finding an appropriate species of tree as well as maybe even pointing me in the right direction to find seeds or seedlings? Thank you!

ANSWER:

It is a privilege to suggest a selection of trees for such a nice reason. However, with that comes responsibility to not encourage you to plant something you will regret doing so later. You may already know that the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America, but to the area in which those plants will be grown; in your case, Rockwall County, TX.

We will begin by going to our Recommended Species, selecting on North Central Texas on the map of North America. Doing this gave us this list of 105 Texas Recommended Plants for North Central Texas.  Using the selection list on the right-hand  side of that page, we selected on "Tree" under HABIT and clicked on NARROW YOUR SEARCH, which gave us this list of 30 trees known to grow natively in your area.

To help you a little more, we are going to select 6 trees from that list that Mr. Smarty Plants feels would work well for you. Then, those trees will have to go through one more test - follow each plant link to our webpage on that list. Go down the resulting page to "ADDITIONAL RESOURCES" and click on "Find scientific name of plant in USDA Plants." This will take you first to a map of North America and Canada with the states and provinces where that plant is native in green. You would then click on Texas and get a map of the counties where that plant grows natively in green. You should be familiar with the shape of Rockwall County, right next to Dallas County. Sometimes it will be green all around your county, but not in yours. This is a search for soils, climate and rainfall that are optimum for that plant, and if your county is not green but surrounded  by green, it just may mean it hasn't been reported to the USDA as growing there.

Okay, we will now demonstrate by selecting said 6 trees and give you a link to the USDA Plant Profile Map on each. You should first follow the plant link to our webpage on it and look especially at GROWING CONDITIONS. If the area where you plan to plant your tree does not match those conditions (sun? shade? soil? ultimate predicted height?) then you should not consider it, because you have so many choices.

Trees for North Central Texas:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) USDA Plant Profile Map

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) USDA Plant Profile Map

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) USDA Plant Profile Map

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) USDA Plant Profile Map

Rhus lanceolata (Prairie flameleaf sumac) USDA Plant Profile Map

Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye) USDA Plant Profile Map

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Prairie flameleaf sumac
Rhus lanceolata

Mexican buckeye
Ungnadia speciosa

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