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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - October 27, 2009

From: Hockley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need a native tree for full sun in Hockley, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What native trees should I plant for full sun. I am building on a 1/2 acre previously used as grazing land on the original Katy prairie. I need one large shade tree, a few smaller ornamentals, and an evergreen. The soil is silty sand/clayey sand and slightly acid. It is moist but very well drained. I need to be able to purchase the trees at local (within 30-40 miles) nurseries, either wholesale or retail. Finding natives seems to be a big part of the problem.

ANSWER:

From considerable experience we can tell you that trying to select specific plants for someone's landscape, sight unseen, generally yields less-than-satisfactory results.  However, we can suggest three approaches to solving this problem that will allow you to select the species best suited to your specific landscape and to find a source of supply for them.

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 APPEARANCE, 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. Select  trees whose growth requirements most closely match your location.

A second approach is to use the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service and Texas A&M. The Custom Tree Selector, you will give you a list of trees that are suitable for Harris County. Again, try to pick  trees that are 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. Generally, November to February is the best time for planting trees in the Houston area.

Our Suppliers page can help you find businesses where you can buy the trees you have selected.

 

 

 

 

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