En EspaŅol

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?


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

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


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?


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

More Soils Questions

What is composted mulch from Springfield IL
July 01, 2010 - I love the look of hard wood mulch. It is my understanding that this wood mulch that is so readily available in bulk and bags is not "composted mulch". I have been told that this type of mulch pull...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for heavy clay soil in east Austin
May 02, 2007 - I live in East Austin and have very thick clay soil on my property. I also have a lot of shade and partial sun/shade. Can you suggest some native plant varieties that are well-adapted to these condi...
view the full question and answer

Plants to replace hydrangeas in a wet area in New York
July 09, 2010 - Dear Smarty, Two years ago I planted 4 Endless Summer Hydrangas in front of the front porch of my summer cottage on Saratoga Lake. The first year they struggled the second they are limp. Can you give...
view the full question and answer

Failure of TX bluebonnets to thrive
May 28, 2015 - We have had extraordinary luck with bluebonnets growing in our driveway of decomposed granite--until last year and this year. The bluebonnets seem to be drying up and wilting away. The ones in other a...
view the full question and answer

Fertilizer amounts for native perennials in Belton, TX
March 18, 2009 - I am a novice gardener and need advice on how to fertilize my native perennials. I would like to use organic fertilizer and need advice on exactly what to use. I have a compost pile but it does not ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center