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?


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

Thursday - June 21, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Life expectancy for Ulmus crassifolia
Answered by: Barbara Medford


What is the life expectancy for a cedar elm? We live in Austin, and the tree was likely here before the house, which was built in 1939.


Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm) is considered a long-lived tree, even though it is quick growing. It is called a Cedar Elm because it is frequently found in the wild with Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper), which are called "cedars" in this part of the country.

It is difficult to estimate the age of a cedar elm because it has an unusual cross-section that may be triangular, almost square, or deeply irregularly scalloped. The annual growth rings are very indistinct. If, in truth, your tree was already in place before your house was built in 1939, then you already know a cedar elm can live in excess of 70 years. The average height for cedar elms in our Central Texas limestone soils is about 50 feet.


From the Image Gallery

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

More Trees Questions

PVC pipes for irrigation in ground in Austin
August 19, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants,What are your thoughts on installing PVC pipes into the ground around trees and shrubby trees? A classmate's grandmother had a pipe pushed or pounded into the ground near her speci...
view the full question and answer

Hybrid Leyland Cypress leaning in Annapolis MC
June 29, 2011 - We have a large, 9-year old Leyland Cypress that has tipped over. It is still green and growing but leaning slightly off center. It's about 20' tall. Should we stake it? If so, we'd like to do ...
view the full question and answer

Identificaation of different cultivars ofPrunus caroliniana
June 14, 2007 - How can you tell if you have a Carolina Cherry laurel or Carolina cherry laurel "compacta," or a Cherry Laurel-English? I have a line of four cherry laurels and one in the middle recently died an...
view the full question and answer

Problems with new transplant non-native weeping willow from Washington DC
September 10, 2012 - I replanted a very young BABY weeping willow tree and now it looks as if the leaves are drying up like it is dying. I know that it could also be in shock from the new transplant or it can be dying ...
view the full question and answer

Planting Live oak trees in Katy, TX.
November 03, 2012 - We are building a house in a neighborhood where the HOA requires two live oaks in the front yard. Our lot is pie shaped leaving a very small front yard once you take into acct the driveway and sidewal...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center