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
3 ratings

Tuesday - August 11, 2009

From: Briarcliff, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Mexican sycamore for Briarcliff, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to plant a sycamore in my yard. I have searched and do not see info on the Mexican sycamore on this website. Is this not recommended in Central Texas for planting? I cannot find the American sycamore in nurseries in my area and it sounds like the Mexican sycamore is slightly more drought tolerant.

ANSWER:

According to this Texas Forest Service website there is a Platanus mexicana, which is native to Central Mexico and South America and therefore would not appear on our website. 

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore), found on our website,  would be a more satisfactory choice. The USDA Plant Profile on this plant shows it growing in the area of Travis County.  This tree would be more comfortable in this area than some of the other species of Platanus. Occidentalis is usually the botanical term used for "western." There could be several reasons for your being unable to locate this tree. The first reason is this is not the time to be planting a tree in Central Texas. Even if our temperatures were "normal" summer temperatures and we were not gripped in an extreme drought and heat wave, this is the wrong time to plant nearly anything, and especially woody plants. 

Go to our Native Plant Suppliers section, type in your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed suppliers and  landscape and environmental consultants in your general area. You could contact them now, inquire if they will be stocking or can order the tree you want, and emphasize that you want the species occidentalis. Make it clear that you don't want it until probably December, when the tree will be semi-dormant and the temperatures will hopefully be more benign. Don't let anyone talk you into buying a tree they happen to have in the nursery now. It will have been growing in a sheltered atmosphere and, even so, is probably already stressed by our weather. Insist on a tree that is as freshly-dug as possible, and get it in the ground as soon as you bring it home from the nursery. Prepare the soil and the hole for the tree in advance, and give it deep watering for several weeks, unless we are suddenly having a whole lot of rain, which isn't likely, even in December. 


Platanus occidentalis

Platanus occidentalis

Platanus occidentalis

Platanus occidentalis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Leaf problems on oaks in North Liberty IA
June 12, 2010 - My oak trees (young and old) are showing leaf problems. Is there a disease or insect causing oak tree disease?
view the full question and answer

Should a mustang grape be left near live oak in Austin?
July 17, 2009 - I recently removed a huge mass of jasmine from a clump of live oaks. Inside I found a very large (12' long) exposed root of a mustang grape. I'd like to trim it back to the original clump and reta...
view the full question and answer

Young Maple Dropping Leaves in Late Summer
September 05, 2013 - I have a 6-year-old maple tree. I'm not sure what type it is as the builder planted it. It is as tall as our two-story house and very healthy. It's the biggest tree in our neighborhood because we fe...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen oak in Washington
February 17, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I live in the Pacific Northwest and noticed an oak tree growing near the road that was evergreen (unusual for here). I was so curious that that last time that I passed the tree,...
view the full question and answer

Are Black Olive trees safe to have in pastures in Florida
May 06, 2009 - I am trying to find out if Black Olive trees will be safe to have in our yard and/or pastures. We raise cattle, goats and horses. We need to find some good shade trees that are safe for our animals ...
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