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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - September 06, 2007

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


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?


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




More Invasive Plants Questions

Creeping buttercups in juniper in McKeesport PA
May 22, 2010 - I have creeping buttercups in my juniper ground cover. How do I get rid of them.
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with orange sap that glows at night
June 06, 2012 - I was just pulling up a plant and noticed that its sap was a kind of orange then I noticed it glowing orange at night. What kind of plant is this and is it dangerous?
view the full question and answer

Viability of Ehretia anacua tree for Austin, TX
January 17, 2008 - I live in Austin, TX and I see you've recommended the Ehretia anacua tree for someone living here. Also, my arborist mentioned it as a replacement for non-native, invasive trees. However, the databas...
view the full question and answer

Blackeyed Susans becoming invasive in Fredericksburg VA
August 10, 2009 - Are the roots of the Blackeyed Susan (BES) invasive enough to actually destroy bulbs. BES have moved into a bed exactly where my oriental lilies were..this year the whole row of red lilies (which had...
view the full question and answer

Clover Among the Bluebonnets in Round Mountain, Texas
April 13, 2012 - I have a beautiful yard of bluebonnets, but mixed in with them are a tall clover that is hiding the flower's beauty and a shorter plant with clover-like leaves that produces burrs. Pulling is not an...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center