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?


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

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

Non-toxic trees for cattle, horses and swine in Washington state.
December 04, 2015 - What non-toxic trees can be planted in cattle pastures in Central Washington? We also have horses and swine on the property.
view the full question and answer

Plants for under non-native fruitless mullberry trees from Ft. Worth TX
June 28, 2012 - I live in Tarrant county, where summer droughts are the norm. I have a 150x50 foot swathe of mature "fruitless mulberry" trees, which create a very shady atmosphere. The soil is clay dominated, ro...
view the full question and answer

Southern Magnolia Damaged by Deer
April 16, 2015 - I have a young Southern Magnolia (about 6 feet tall) that was damaged by deer on the main trunk. The bottom 2 feet looks okay, but where they damaged it and tore branches off, and above that, the leav...
view the full question and answer

Oak bark problems from Stillwater OK
May 14, 2012 - In my clients large oak tree there is bark stripped from the limbs in small pieces. No piece is larger than 1 inch by 1 inch and occurs on limbs high in the canopy. It does not look like squirrel doin...
view the full question and answer

When and how to transplant a Texas persimmon
January 02, 2009 - When and how should I transplant a 12' Texas persimmon? How much root ball do I need to get?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center