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

Friday - July 04, 2008

From: Oswego, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Trees for creek side in Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I have a creek that runs along my back yard, and was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on water loving trees to grow next to it. The creek gets sun all day and is located in zone 5. (some other than the willows)


Below are some suggestions for trees (no wilows) that will do well alongside a stream and are hardy in zone 5:

Alnus incana ssp. rugosa (speckled alder) is a shrub/tree of streambanks. Here are photos and more information.

Amelanchier laevis (Allegheny serviceberry) likes to grow in wet places. Here is more information.

Betula nigra (river birch) grows on stream banks. Here is more information.

Morus rubra (red mulberry) grows on stream and river banks. More information.

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) is a large tree that grows in flood plains and bottomlands. More information.

Populus deltoides (eastern cottonwood) is another large tree that grows in much the same habitat as the sycamore. More information.

Populus tremuloides (quaking aspen) grows on stream banks and moist disturbed areas. More information.

Amelanchier laevis

Betula nigra

Morus rubra

Platanus occidentalis

Populus deltoides

Populus tremuloides



More Trees Questions

Identity of tree with fragrant yellow flowers and thorns
June 06, 2013 - I'm not sure if this is a native plant. It's a tree, around 15" tall. The leaves are in bunches with 3-4 very sharp small spines at each bunch. Flowers are small, yellow, hang down from the leaf...
view the full question and answer

Removing Persimmon plants from the base of Live oaks
October 15, 2015 - I live in Bastrop county and have hundreds of Texas wild persimmons at the base of my huge oak trees. Should I cut some of them? I am worried they are taking up water my oaks need. I like them but do...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen from Temecula CA
May 04, 2013 - I live in Temecula and need a fast growing tree by our pool that is good to block neighbors house.
view the full question and answer

Is the palm tree a true tree?
December 18, 2008 - Hello, There has been constant debate here about the Palm Tree. I'm in Las Vegas and I have heard everything from it not being a true tree but a cacti or a giant thistle?! I've tried to research...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Live Oak in Boerne TX
April 24, 2011 - I had my large Live Oak trimmed last year. This spring there seems to be a problem with leaf growth. Most leaves are small in nature and appear to have been attacked possibly by bugs. Many of the bran...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center