Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Tree for St Paul MN
April 30, 2012 - Need deciduous faster growing shade tree, more taproot style (few/no surface bulging roots--had to cut down large silver maple), few/no fatal pests, tolerant of cold (MN), preferably able to take vari...
view the full question and answer

Holes in trunk of Monterey Oak in Austin, TX.
May 05, 2013 - My Monterrey Oak (about 4 in diameter) has a problem. It started budding out and had a few leafs, then just quit. It had what I thought was new buds that would develop, but didn't. Then, the exist...
view the full question and answer

Selecting landscape trees for Denton Co., TX
August 11, 2006 - I live in Denton County and I'm trying to select a few trees to plant in my yard. I'd like them to be native or at least "antique" (hardy varieties which have adapted to the conditions without bec...
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

Trees starting to die in subdivision in Hutto, TX
May 31, 2012 - I live in Hutto Tx, in a subdivision where everyone has the 2 trees planted in the front yard. My trees have started to die, and I want to find out what kind they are to find a solution
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.