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?


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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - October 12, 2009

From: Sapulpa, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native alternative for Japanese Red Maple in Oklahoma
Answered by: Nan Hampton


Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my being overgrown and too large. We thought the Japanese Red Maple would be nice, because it is a smaller and more contained tree, but I do not want to introduce a non-native plant. PLEASE HELP!


Mr. Smarty Plants can offer several attractive small native trees for Oklahoma as an alternative to Japanese maple.  Here are a few of them:

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree)

Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood)

Cornus florida (flowering dogwood)

Morus rubra (red mulberry)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Viburnum rufidulum (rusty blackhaw)

You can do a COMBINATION SEARCH in our Native Plant Database to see other possibilities by choosing Oklahoma from the Select State or Province category and 'Tree' from the Habit (general appearance) category.

Cotinus obovatus

Rhus lanceolata

Cercis canadensis

Chionanthus virginicus

Cornus drummondii

Cornus florida

Morus rubra

Prunus mexicana

Viburnum rufidulum

More Trees Questions

Problems with Arizona Ash from Naco AZ
May 19, 2013 - Hi Mr. Smarty.. Live in southeast corner of Az. My Az. Ash is diseased. Just noticed leaves are curled, (still green) and when I open the leaf it has a zillion little white, what look like mites ...
view the full question and answer

How to deal with suckers on Flame-leaf Sumac
May 20, 2013 - Hi! It seems you can have too much of a good thing! Our flameleaf sumac is taking over our yard. There are multiple shoots appearing in our flower beds and in the lawn. How do I get rid of the unwante...
view the full question and answer

Pecan leaves falling of the trees in Austin, TX.
August 08, 2012 - Why are the pecan tree leaves turning black, sappy and falling off the trees, in great quantities? This has happened since the recent rains, all through the Allandale area.
view the full question and answer

Native trees safe for cattle in Waller TX
October 27, 2009 - I have a ranch where the pastures have no trees. Can you recommend native species which as safe for cattle and relatively maintenance free?
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Mess in Liberty, TX
April 09, 2015 - Should I leave the pollination debris that has fallen from my 3 historic live oaks on the ground surface beneath them or use a leaf blower to remove.
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center