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?


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

Tuesday - September 08, 2009

From: Spring, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need a recommendation for a tree to replace an oak tree in Spring, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I recently had an oak tree removed from my yard and want to replace it with a nice tolerant shade tree. My yard measures 65x35. What are the best non-invasive shade trees to plant in my area?


Mr. Smarty Plants is wondering why you had to remove your oak tree, and what you consider a tolerant tree.

I have three sources to suggest that can help you select your replacement tree. First, go to our Recommended Species page and click on East Texas on the map. This will bring up a list of 133 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in East Texas. Then go to the Narrow Your Search box on the right side of the page and select Texas for state, Tree for GENERAL APPEARNCE, and Perrenial for LIFESPAN. Check Sun for LIGHT REQUIREMENT and Moist for SOIL MOISTURE. Your list decreases to 10 trees. Clicking on the name of each tree will bring up its NPIN page with information about its growth characteristics and requirements, along with images. Try to pick the tree that meets the criteria for your lawn.

A second source is the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service and Texas A&M. By using the Custom Tree Selector, you will get a list of trees that are suitable for Harris County. Again, try to pick a tree that is suitable for your location.

This website for the Houston Area Urban Forestry Council has a wealth of information about trees ranging from selection, to planting, to complying with the tree ordinance in the Houston area.

Now is not the time to plant a tree in Texas, but if you use these sources to do your homework, you'll be ready when the time is right in late fall to early spring.



More Trees Questions

Why is non-native peach tree not going dormant in Owensville IN
December 19, 2011 - I have a peach tree I grew from a peach pit. It is about 2 years old. I planted the tree in my yard this summer. It is now about 3' tall. My problem is it is not going dormant. We have had several fr...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Texas Ash from Sun City, AZ
April 20, 2012 - What might be causing the leaves on my Texas Ash tree to have brown spots and curl up and die?
view the full question and answer

Danger of oak wilt infestation in trees with storm-damaged limbs
June 15, 2007 - A recent severe storm in Southwest Austin broke large branches and trunks on many Live Oaks in my neighborhood, including my next door neighbors'. Can this invite Oak Wilt? I'm worried about my tree...
view the full question and answer

Trees resistant to Armillaria mellea, root fungus
December 16, 2008 - We had to bring down a 200 year old oak which root system was compromised by Armillaria mellea. We were told the fungus is still present in the soil & it's advisable to plant a resistant species. W...
view the full question and answer

Decline of pollinating bees around Mexican plums
March 19, 2007 - Dear Dr. Smarty Plants While out working in my yard (about nine miles southwest of the Wildfower Center) this morning, I became aware that there was no sound of bees buzzing. I checked our Mexica...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center