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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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Friday - June 15, 2007

From: Pleasanton, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Ornamental tree recommendation for California
Answered by: Joe Marcus


We live in Pleasanton, California and wish to plant an ornamental tree in our front yard. The tree will receive full sun, and the climate can get quite hot in the summer. A Japanese Maple would be the perfect type of tree for the location, from a height, color and texture standpoint, but such a tree cannot take the hot summer sun. Do you have any suggestions?


Experience has taught us that it is not possible to adequately design a garden or make specific plant recommendations sight unseen. The light, soil, water, and design considerations for each garden site are simply too complex. But we may still be able to help. The Native Plant Database features a search function designed to help with just your kind of project. In the "Combination Search" section of that webpage, select from the menu choices that are appropriate for your requirements.

More Trees Questions

Small native flowering tree for Virginia
September 21, 2009 - Could you recommend a small flowering tree (8-10' mature size) to plant in front garden next to the house. Full sun. Something that doesn't have invasive roots that would damage the house. Thanks...
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Propagation of Pacific dogwood
November 21, 2015 - When do I plant Pacific dogwood seeds? How deep and far apart should they be planted? The elevation will be around 5k.
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Plant barrier along fence in South Central Texas
March 10, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I want to put in an attractive, diverse but tough plant barrier to help stop my dogs from running the fence with neighboring dogs. The 5-foot, open-wire fence is far from the...
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pruning crape myrtle (ugh, non-native)
March 05, 2012 - We would like to plant a Dynamite Crape myrtle in front of our front window. They grow 20' to 30'. Can I trim it each year to about 15' to 20'? Should we plant it approximately 5 feet from the ...
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Reason for tree canopy dieback from Mahopac NY
May 21, 2012 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: Not a questions, just sharing, re person in Texas whose Ash Jupiter appeared to be dying "canopy very thin on top". We moved to Putnam Co. NY in 1970. Our house was shaded by...
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