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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

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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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Thursday - September 06, 2007

From: Kerrville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Native alternatives for Chinest pistache
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We live just outside Kerrville on a lot with shallow soil over rock. We have built a raised bed for a shade tree and were considering a Chinese Pistache. However, I have since heard that they don't live very long. A nurseryman recommended Monterrey Oak, and I've been attracted by pictures of Texas Ash. Could you provide further direction?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants would definitely NOT recommend Pistacia chinenesis (Chinese pistache) since it is on the "Invasives" list of TexasInvasives.org. However, Mr. SP has several suggestions for alternative trees. Another small to medium-sized tree with spectacular fall colors is Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple). Fraxinus texensis (Texas ash) also has brilliant fall colors. There are several oaks, (e.g., Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak), Quercus laceyi (Lacey oak), and Quercus polymorpha (Monterrey oak)) that are in that size range and also are resistant to oak wilt disease, but they don't really have spectacular fall colors.

The Texas Forest Service (in association with Texas A&M University) has a Texas Tree Planting Guide where you can use your specific criteria to search for trees that will do well in your area.


Acer grandidentatum

Fraxinus texensis

Quercus muehlenbergii

Quercus laceyi

Quercus polymorpha

 

 

 

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