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

Plants to grow under elm tree in Amarillo TX
May 01, 2014 - I have a large elm tree and I can't get seem to get anything to grow under it. I was wondering if there are any shade-loving groundcovers that you would recommend (have tried English Ivy, hostas, an...
view the full question and answer

Summer flowering small trees for NY
April 20, 2011 - Request recommendations about trees for terrace. Would like flowers or color in summer; not spring. (Some of my trees are twenty five feet high.) Full sun, some wind, large containers. Please recomme...
view the full question and answer

Natural privacy hedge for Kyle Texas
January 06, 2014 - I am looking to make a natural privacy screen in the Kyle Texas area. I am being pointed towards Leyland Cypress by some and told to shy away from this tree by others. I found Green Giant Arborvitae a...
view the full question and answer

Problems with sophora secundiflora
April 19, 2008 - My mountain laurel is looking bad. It has lost of its leaves, especially on the lower part of the tree (it's about 7 feet tall) and many of the remaining ones don't look good - they are curled up an...
view the full question and answer

What plants grow well in Athens, TX?
January 18, 2011 - Athens, Texas, we have very sandy soil mixed with clay, what plants grow well here?
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