En Español

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - April 01, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native conifer bearing evergreen for noise reduction
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I asked the prior question about noise reduction and you gave me several choices. Thank you for that. Of the plants you suggested, the wax myrtle is the tallest and therefore probably best for my 2-story house. Are there any conifer bearing evergreens that I might try? I have a vision of the quiet of pine forest, but that may be completely unrealistic. I can be patient because I know it would be a long-term improvement. I forgot to mention that I live on a limestone shelf and only have about 4-6 inches of topsoil, which, I'm sure, was trucked in. I'm told to start with small plants whose roots can find their own way through the porous rock. There are a couple of good sized live oaks on the property that have managed to find room for their roots. PS. I love Mr. Smarty Plants and the Wildflower Center!

ANSWER:

Conifers are plants that do not bear flowers, they bear cones. You could move to Bastrop, to the Lost Pines area around Bastrop State Park, and have your pine forest right there, but it's already quiet there, and we assume you weren't planning to relocate. There are some conifers that are more comfortable in the Austin area, but might not be your idea of a pine forest. Whether or not you can find a compromise that suits your situation, we'll at least try to give you enough information to make a decision. When you follow the weblink to the page on each tree, if you want to know more go all the way down to the bottom of the page, and find a line that says "Search Google for (name of plant)". You can then find a whole lot more information than we have room for in our Native Plant Database.

Pinus taeda (loblolly pine) - This is the pine that populates the Bastrop State Park. The area is separated from the main body of East Texas pines by about 100 miles of rolling post oak woodlands and is the farthest west stand of loblollies.

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) - This is a beautiful tree, lovely cone shape, delicate green foliage, but it is deciduous.

Pinus cembroides (Mexican pinyon) - Native distribution is Central and West Texas, but native habitat is mesas or woodland slopes 5000 to 7000 feet in elevation.

Pinus echinata (shortleaf pine) - Native distribution in East Texas, needs a dry, acidic-based sandy soil.

Juniperus ashei (Ashe's juniper) - Okay, we know, major allergen. But you know it will grow here because it IS growing here, and it loves limestone shelves.

Juniperus pinchotii (Pinchot's juniper) - Native distribution in Central Texas, likes rocky sites, limestone-based soils.

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) - Native distribution in Central Texas. Another allergen-producer, but not quite as potent as Ashe Juniper.


Pinus taeda

Taxodium distichum

Pinus cembroides

Pinus echinata

Juniperus ashei

Juniperus pinchotii

Juniperus virginiana

 









 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Holding an Acer rubrum in a container for two years
October 10, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am thinking about ordering a Red Maple tree that is cultivated from Mount Vernon. I appreciate the historic nature of such a tree. The tree will be shipped to me and is ...
view the full question and answer

Growing a Swamp Oak from Seed
July 02, 2014 - I have a swamp oak that I started from an acorn. Someone at a nursery stated that after 4 years I should cut it off at ground level and then allow one of the suckers to grow while keep removing the ot...
view the full question and answer

Mexicana Redbud failing to bloom in Austin
April 12, 2010 - I have a Mexican Redbud that I bought last fall. It is now April (I'm in Austin), and the leaves have emerged, but the tree did not flower. So . . . what should I do to get it to flower? (The tree i...
view the full question and answer

Replacement of black willows killed by Hurricane in Nederland, TX
March 23, 2010 - Hurricane Ike wiped out all the native black willow trips in Texas Ornithological Birding Sanctuary in Sabine Pass and 5 miles down the road at Sea Rim Park. We had hoped that after 1 1/2 years, they ...
view the full question and answer

Replanting of non-native Christmas Palm from Sarasota FL
November 28, 2012 - Do you know of a proven technique to plant a Christmas Palm in a built-in concrete pool deck planter box - using gravel around the soil root ball to delay the root bound condition we just ripped out?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center