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?

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

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

Wednesday - May 20, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native Texas tree for anniversary in Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

My husband and I would like to plant a tree in our yard commemorating our 5 year anniversary (wood anniversary). What native Texas tree can we plant in June? I love Red buds and any pretty blooming trees; my husband wants a hardy, fast-growing shade tree. Do you have any suggestions?

ANSWER:

What a truly lovely idea! And Mr. Smarty Plants learns something every single day; we had no idea that the 5th wedding anniversary was wood. The only caution we would make, before we suggest some trees, is that you defer planting whatever tree you choose until December. Give each other a wooden reminder note or something of the sort. Your tree will have a much better chance of surviving and thriving if it is planted during the semi-dormancy of cool weather. The heat and dry weather in Austin in June can be daunting to anyone, and a fresh young tree with its little hair roots possibly damaged in transplanting needs every break it can get.

You say you want a pretty flowering tree, and your husband wants a fast-growing shade tree. We don't ordinarily recommend fast-growing trees, as they tend to break down readily, be easily damaged and short-lived. But there are some that grow fairly fast that would do. And we have just about stopped recommending oaks in the Austin area, because of the Oak Wilt problems here. Red oaks and live oaks are particularly susceptible to the disease, but there is one other oak that is moderately fast growing (for an oak) and pretty resistant to Oak Wilt. Because any tree will help to cool the area around your house, provide some shade, and add to the appearance of the yard, we will find several that we think would fit your specifications. To do this, we will go to the Recommended Species of our Native Plant Database, select on Central Texas and "trees" under Habit. If you would like to see more possibilities, you can repeat this procedure. Follow each plant link to the webpage on that individual plant to read about its expected size and appearance. To find out still more, go to the bottom of that webpage to the Google link to the Latin name of the tree. And Happy Anniversary!

Bauhinia lunarioides (Texasplume) - 6 to 12 ft. tall, rapid growing, deciduous, blooms white, pink March to May. low water use, part shade

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - 10 to 20 ft., deciduous, blooms pink, purple March and April, medium water use, sun or part shade

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - 15 to 30 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms white, pink, purple April to September, low water use, sun

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) - 15 to 30 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms pink, yellow April and May, low water use, sun or part shade

Fraxinus texensis (Texas ash) - 30 to 45 ft. tall, deciduous, water use low, part shade

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) - 15 to 35 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms white, pink February to April, low water use, sun or part shade

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) - to 100 ft. height and width, deciduous, medium water use, sun, part shade, shade

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) - evergreen, to 30 ft. tall, blooms blue, purple February and March, medium water use, sun or part shade

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress) - 50 to 75 ft. tall, deciduous, medium water use, sun or part shade


Bauhinia lunarioides

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Chilopsis linearis

Cotinus obovatus

Fraxinus texensis

Prunus mexicana

Quercus macrocarpa

Sophora secundiflora

Taxodium distichum

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Is Magnolia virginiana (Sweetbay) a major nectar source for honeybees?
January 31, 2015 - Is the Sweetbay Magnolia a major nectar source for honeybees?
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

Trimming oaks and elms from New Braunfels TX
June 20, 2012 - I would like to trim my live oaks and elm trees at the same time, if possible. I think they are American Elms. When is the best time to do this and avoid oak wilt and Dutch elm disease? Should all c...
view the full question and answer

Pruning technique for Anacacho Orchid from Austin
May 18, 2011 - I have an Anacacho Orchid tree that is about 8 ft tall and still young. It is doing quite well. I have never pruned it, but lately I have been considering it as some of the top branches are starting t...
view the full question and answer

Narrow, Small Tree for Austin, Texas Yard
December 17, 2015 - I need recommendation on what type of tree to plant between our neighbors and our home. The wall to wall space is 15 feet at best, with a fence in between. Currently we have a young mulberry but are b...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center