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
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

Vehicle friendly oak trees for Austin
March 30, 2008 - Do Chinquapins, Shumards or Live Oaks produce lots of tree sap? I'm looking for a vehicle friendly Oak tree to be installed in parking areas in Austin, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Need a tree to grow on the south shore of Long Island, NY
May 29, 2010 - I live on the south shore of Long Island NY. My property is directly on Great South Bay and consists of sandy soil and beach grasses. I am wondering what trees would do well in this type of environm...
view the full question and answer

Further explanation of retaining walls and trees from Washington MO
March 11, 2013 - I had a question previously about putting retaining walls across the root system of a 40' tall bald cypress tree(not like spokes on a wheel, but concentric to tree trunk). How wide can the walls be? ...
view the full question and answer

Do I need to plant a male winterberry? yes
October 19, 2007 - I planted a female winterberry in early July & although I have been watering it regularly the leaves turned brown on the tips in Sept. No berries yet so will I have to plant a male? Thanks, Carol
view the full question and answer

Serviceberry for North Myrtle Beach, SC
February 19, 2009 - I'm looking to landscape a second home in North Myrtle Beach,SC and was wondering if the Serviceberry trees we love so much in the Buckeye State would also grow down here? Thanks!!
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