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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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Thursday - April 03, 2014

From: Waelder, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Soils, Trees
Title: Growing Loblolly Pines Outside Native Range
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

I would like a stand of pines on my property but do not know if they will grow in my area. Do you know if the soil in Waelder, Texas will support pines?

ANSWER:

I'm going to assume that by "pines" you mean  Pinus taeda (Loblolly pine) rather than one of the pines that grows in the mountains of west Texas.

The link above describes the soil preference for loblollies as "Adaptable, but prefers moist, sandy soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam Acid-based, Medium Loam." I suspect that acid-based part is going to be a problem where you live. In addition, the USDA distribution map for loblolly pines shows Gonzales County to be a little west of its normal range.

Just because a plant is outside its range and soil conditions are not ideal does not necessarily mean it won't survive. It probably does mean they will not thrive. Most likely they won't reach their full potential size and will have a reduced life span. It is also likely they will be more susceptible to disease, drought and freezing. Iron chlorosis would be a particular problem to be concerned about. In summary, you may be able to grow loblollies, but it will be an uphill battle.

That's why Mr. Smarty Plants always recommends growing plants that are native to the area where they are being grown. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Loblolly pine
Pinus taeda

Loblolly pine
Pinus taeda

Loblolly pine
Pinus taeda

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