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?

Share

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
1 rating

Friday - August 03, 2007

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Alternatives to tuliptree and red maple in Central Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in southwest Austin, TX, nearby a creek. The soil is very heavy with clay. I've been perusing web sites for trees, and we like the "Summer Red Maple" and "Tulip Poplar" trees very much, mostly for their proported briiliant cover even in Texas, and good shade. Do you know if these trees will really grow well here?

ANSWER:

Although both trees grow in Texas, their occurrence is in East Texas and not in Central Texas. Both Liriodendron tulipifera (tuliptree or tulip poplar) and Acer rubrum (red maple) like acidic soils (pH<6.8) like those of East Texas. Additionally, the tulip tree doesn't tolerate compacted soils so I think you would have very poor luck trying to grow it in our Austin clay. There are alternatives, however. Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple) does very well in Austin and has beautiful fall foliage. This is the tree of Lost Maples State Natural Area. There are two oaks, Quercus buckleyi (Buckley oak or Texas oak) and Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak), that have beautiful red fall foliage and also grow well in our area. Two other choices that are small trees/large shrubs are Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) and Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac).

 


Acer grandidentatum

Quercus buckleyi

Cotinus obovatus

Rhus lanceolata

 

 

More Trees Questions

Cause of chlorosis on dogwood
July 23, 2007 - Help!! I have been gone for three days, when I came home and looked out my back door I discovered that one of my huge dogwoods was turning yellow. We have had more than our share of rain this year and...
view the full question and answer

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

Loss of leaves from globe willows in Utah
July 26, 2008 - I have four globe willows that have been in my back yard for the past 6 years. For the past month they have been losing their leaves from the bottom up. We had aphids in some of our other trees and ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen groundcover under pine tree in NY
May 23, 2008 - Hello! I live in upstate NY. I'm trying to find an evergreen ground cover to plant under a pine tree. I believe it's a white spruce (but I'm not postive). I've read conflicting information reg...
view the full question and answer

Can hackberry twigs and leaves be safely used in compost?
March 05, 2009 - If Hackberry trees and leaves have growth inhibiting compounds, should they not be used in compost piles?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center