En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Selection of native trees to replace trees lost in hurricane

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
1 rating

Sunday - September 28, 2008

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Selection of native trees to replace trees lost in hurricane
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hello, I have a tree replacement list I must choose from as I live in a HOA deeded area. I lost 2 pines to the hurricane. And according to them I need to replace with 2 large trees. The pines were 15 feet from my front foundation; my front lawn is at 30 feet when you get to the sidewalk. My width is 60 feet. I get sun all day in the front. Here is the list: live oak tree, Shumard red oak tree, Nuttall oak tree, Laurel oak tree, Drummond Maple tree. I live in Pearland, Texas just outside of Houston. Which would you choose? Note: I would prefer a Mimosa and not a large tree but they won't approve it, and also they seem fixated on 2 trees. Please advise me.

ANSWER:

First, let's talk about Albizia julibrissin, Mimosa. We would not recommend this tree anyway, because it is non-native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center supports the use, protection and propagation of plants native to North America and to the area in which they are being grown, because they will need less water, fertilizer and maintenance. Furthermore, we can understand the HOA's dislike for the Mimosa-it is a weak-wooded, short-lived tree, considered an invasive weed, and actually outlawed in many urban areas because of its tendency to spread into and take over other areas.

Next, your preference for a small tree. All of the oaks and maples are going to grow up and be big trees. However, they are generally moderate growers, and you might not still be living in your house when one of them gets to 100 feet tall. In order to be transplanted at all, they are going to have to begin small. Most oaks have a taproot, which is very difficult to transplant and if the root is damaged, the tree may not survive. 

Now, on to the trees on your list. For the Live Oak, we found two, Quercus virginiana (live oak) and Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak), both of which are native to Texas, both with the common name "Live Oak". However, we eliminated Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) from the running, because all of the other trees, including Quercus virginiana (live oak), tolerate wet soil, and are considered more adaptable to the Gulf Coast.  We think that is probably why your HOA selected those particular trees, because of the area in which Pearland is located.

The Nuttall Oak, we could not find by that name in our Native Plant Database. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist, it  just means our database doesn't recognize that name. Retailers will often name plants something that is not recognized as a botanical nor a common name, which can be confusing. We did, however, find information on that oak.

Quercus virginiana (live oak)- also called Coastal Oak, found on the Southeastern Texas coast. Matures into a massive, wide-spreading tree 40 to 80 ft. in height, and 60 to 100 feet in width. Young trees grow quickly and need to be trained if their natural tendency to spread is unwelcome. Susceptible, among other things, to oak wilt and chestnut blight. Fast-growing under optimal conditions, but growth rates taper off as age increases, life measured in centuries. While not totally evergreen, this tree sheds most of its leaves in Spring, to be replaced in weeks by new growth. 

Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak) - pyrimidal, growing 50 to 90 ft. in height, and 50 to 60 ft. spread. Deciduous, with good Fall color. Considered very susceptible to oak wilt.

Quercus nuttallii (USDA Forest Service), Nuttall oak tree - 60 to 80 ft. tall, 30 to 50 ft. spread. Pictures.

Quercus hemisphaerica (Darlington oak) - also called a Laurel Oak - growth rate moderate to rapid, height 40 ft. to 60 ft., width 30 ft. to 40 ft. Pictures.

Acer rubrum var. drummondii (Drummond's maple) - tree of wet habitats, 72 to 100 ft. tall, deciduous, Fall color. Pictures.

It sounds like your HOA is trying to replace trees felled by the hurricane with trees that are sturdier and more wind-resistant. 


Quercus virginiana

Quercus shumardii

 

 

More Trees Questions

Distance from existing structures for live oak
April 18, 2009 - How close to your house slab, driveway and footpaths should you plant live oaks so as to avoid in the future damage from roots, falling branches, etc?
view the full question and answer

Growing Loblolly Pines Outside Native Range
April 03, 2014 - I would like a stand of pines on my property but do not know if they will grow in my area. Do you know if the soil in Waelder, Texas will support pines?
view the full question and answer

Want a source for Mexican redbud in Houston, TX
October 04, 2010 - I live in west Houston and would like to purchase and plant a Mexican redbud in my yard. I have Googled to find one and also searched the Growit site without success. Where can I find one in Texas? I ...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of Colorado Blue Spruce tree in Boerne TX
November 11, 2009 - Is it possible to plant Colorado Blue Spruce trees in the Boerne, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Hurricane damage on oak in Houston
April 01, 2013 - We have a very large oak tree that survived our last hurricane with lots of lost limbs. Then there was the drought. We have lost three large limbs on separate occasions on non-windy days. I love this ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center