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

Trees native to Anza Valley California
February 14, 2012 - What are the best trees to plant in Aguanga, California?
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

Trees starting to die in subdivision in Hutto, TX
May 31, 2012 - I live in Hutto Tx, in a subdivision where everyone has the 2 trees planted in the front yard. My trees have started to die, and I want to find out what kind they are to find a solution
view the full question and answer

What eats American holly bushes in winter?
January 24, 2010 - I live in Marlborough, MA and I was shoveling snow on January 19th and noticed how beautiful my Holly bush was covered in red berries against the new fallen snow. My husband said to me this morning (...
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native grapefruit from seeds from Austin
April 30, 2013 - Can you grow ruby red grapefruit trees from seeds?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center