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
8 ratings

Tuesday - April 14, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need substitute plants for Red Tip Photinia in San Antonio.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


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 least 5 feet tall. The plants are provided with water by a drip sprinkler system. Thank You.


Red Tip Photinia (Photinia x Fraseri) in a non native plant, however it has been widely used as a hedging plant through out the south. With  the spread of the fungal disease Entomosporium leaf spot, many hedges have died or are dying out.

There are several options for replacing the Photinias, and Mr. Smarty Plants hopes that you will choose native species that are better adapted to your area. You can go to our Recommended Species page  and select Central Texas on the map. Click on NARROW YOUR SEARCH, and make the following selections: select Texas under state, Shrub under Habit, Perennial under Duration, and Sun under Light Requirement. Click the Narrow Your Search button and you will get a list of plants to choose from for your hedge. You can alter the list by changing the selected items.

Here are some suggestions from that list:

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) - evergreen

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush) - evergreen

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) - evergreen, fragrant foliage

Osmanthus americanus (devilwood) - evergreen

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) - evergreen, handsome hedge plant

This Clemson University Extension website thouroughly discusses Photinia, its culture, its problems, and recommended substitutes, although several of their suggestions are non natives. Of particular interest for your situation is the section on Mixed Screens.

Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Morella cerifera

Osmanthus americanus


Prunus caroliniana

More Trees Questions

Identification of small tree in Florida
August 31, 2012 - I live in Port Saint Lucie, FL. We have a few trees (?) growing in our yard I would like to i.d. They seem to grow quickly have smooth leaves that grow opposite one another and the underside of the ...
view the full question and answer

Red oak leaves have a swelling along the veins
June 17, 2015 - I have red oaks in my back yard, approx 30 or more have a disease that are wilting the leaves. Looking at the back of the leaf there is swelling along the spines. I've gone to one nursery in town ...
view the full question and answer

Fruit and nut trees safe for horses.
May 11, 2015 - My husband and I just moved to Elgin. We have always wanted to grow fruit/nut baring trees but didn't take in to consideration that horses might eat them. We have never had land or horses before, s...
view the full question and answer

Cherry trees in the North Texas area
April 21, 2009 - Will cherry trees grow well in the North Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Is mulberry tree inhibiting growth of plants under it in Wilmington DE?
June 21, 2009 - I have a large mulberry tree in my yard and the plants around it are not flowering or growing, some are now dead. Could the mulberry tree be toxic to other plants?
view the full question and answer

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