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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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Friday - May 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin. I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?

ANSWER:

How about a Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)? Not only does it have wispy leaves, it also has beautiful flowers. This isn't a true willow, but a willow might be another possibility. The native willow in Travis County is Salix nigra (black willow). Another wispy native is Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite). Then there are Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia) and Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia). Still another possibility is Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac) which has wispy leaves, bright red berries, and beautiful fall foliage. Finally, there are Baccharis neglecta (Rooseveltweed) and Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) which both look a little like Mexican weeping bamboo (Otatea acuminata aztecorum). We wouldn't recommend the Mexican weeping bamboo, however, since it isn't native—and what we are all about is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."

 


Chilopsis linearis

Salix nigra

Prosopis glandulosa

Acacia angustissima

Acacia farnesiana

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

Baccharis neglecta

 


Nolina texana
 

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