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?

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
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 - January 18, 2009

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree to plant by pool replacing mulberry in Las Vegas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a tree to plant between my house and pool. We just cut down a mulberry that was here due to its invasive root system. Are there any plants that can tolerate Vegas weather, provide a good shade canopy, and down drop loads of tiny leaves in to the pool?

ANSWER:

You're kidding, right? You don't really want something that's going to drop loads of leaves in your pool? There are two native mulberries, Morus microphylla (Texas mulberry) and Morus rubra (red mulberry). Regardless of whether it was native or not, you did the right thing to remove the tree. Whether it should be replaced by a new tree or not is another question. Roots of any tree and in-ground swimming pools are natural enemies, both for reasons you have already stated-invasive roots and messy leaf and fruit drop.  You didn't say how much distance between house and pool is involved. but consider this: If you move the tree away from the pool to protect the pool filters and appearance, the roots could very well interfere with the house foundation as well as walks, patios, etc. If you move it closer to the pool, you're right back where you started. Although a newly-planted tree would be small and not intrusive, it's going to grow. It won't be any good as a shade tree until it gets quite a bit bigger, an amount of time that depends on the speed with which the tree grows. And whether a tree is evergreen or deciduous, there is going to be constant shedding of dead leaves, little twigs, over-ripe fruit and your odd bird's nest. Although planting a tree might seem to be an inexpensive method to acquire shade, it will be a few years, at least, before you get the shade.

Although we will suggest some trees that are native to Nevada, we would urge you to consider alternatives, like a pavilion or patio cover for shade, using the the smaller trees for a softening effect. We have selected two smaller trees, more ornamental than shade trees, and two larger fast-growing trees. The majority of the larger trees suitable for shade are also known for surface roots which can buckle paving and interfere with other plantings. 

TREES

Cercis orbiculata (California redbud) - deciduous ornamental, blooms white, red, pink, purple March to May

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - deciduous, not actually related to true willows, white, pink, purple blooms April to September.

Fraxinus velutina (velvet ash) - deciduous shade tree, to 40 ft., fast-growing.

Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine) - evergreen, fast-growing, must be transplanted when small because of danger of damaging taproot.


Cercis orbiculata

Cercis orbiculata

Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

Fraxinus velutina

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Growing a Texas Mountain Laurel in Pennsylvania
May 20, 2012 - Can I grow a Texas Mt. Laurel in Lancaster, PA?
view the full question and answer

Huisache blooms when freeze is over
May 02, 2005 - I live in San Antonio, TX and have heard that when the Huisache blooms all danger of frost or freeze is over. Is that true? And, this year to date (April 22, 2005) we have not seen the Huisache bloo...
view the full question and answer

Yellowing leaves on non-native weeping birch in Brick NJ
August 16, 2009 - I have a young weeping birch-planted in spring-we water regularly, it gets good sun-and rain has been perfect--the leaves get yellow--and now they are a lot! Whats the matter? I love my little tree.I ...
view the full question and answer

Xeric landscaping walls in Mansfield TX
November 15, 2009 - We have two stone, concave 10 ft. high entry walls to our private street. These are each 20 ft. in length and face the west. What xeriscaping accent plants would you recommend. Also, should we crea...
view the full question and answer

Need substitute plants for Red Tip Photinia in San Antonio.
April 14, 2009 - Looking to replace Red Tips with major leaf spot infections. Need about third replaced. What suggestions would you have to replace these privacy hedge row type plants? Need a plant that will grow at...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center