Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

Are fuzzy oak leaf galls harmful to post oak trees?
October 19, 2012 - Are the fuzzy balls on the undersides of our post oak trees harmful?
view the full question and answer

Quercus polymorpha botanical name for Mexican white oak
June 19, 2007 - What is the scientfic name for the Monterrey Oak?
view the full question and answer

Bird-friendly plants for the Texas coast
July 13, 2012 - I'm interested in starting a native plant garden, specifically with an eye towards providing food (either from the plants or insects that are attracted to the plants) for migratory birds. However, s...
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

Plants found only in the Edwards Plateau of Texas area
March 23, 2008 - I am new to Austin, Texas and I am working with a group of 4th grade Cub Scouts on their Naturalist and Forester pins and we need to know about and have pictures of at least 6 trees and plants only fo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.