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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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Sunday - September 02, 2007

From: Lafayette, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Trees
Title: Hurricane resistant alternatives to crape myrtle
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Are there any native small to medium trees (15-25 ft) to use instead of crapemyrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)? Crapemyrtles come in many colors and bend with hurricane winds instead of snapping or uprooting. The planting site is spacious with at least 6 hours of sun daily and reasonable drainage. I live in south Louisiana and experience hot summers, mild winters and occasional hurricanes, so the trees need to be fairly flexible to high winds.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants used the Combo Search feature in the native plants database to search for natives trees in Louisiana in full sun and part shade and came up with 139 possibilities ranging from box elder to the toothache tree. Unfortunately, flexibility is not something we track, but a few medium-sized flowering trees that could suit your needs include:

Aesculus pavia (red buckeye)
Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)
Crataegus viridis (green hawthorn)
Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)
Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia)
Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay)
Parkinsonia aculeata (Jerusalem thorn)

 

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