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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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Wednesday - November 25, 2009

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need help selecting maple cultivars in Houston.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Houston, TX and would like to plant 2 red maples in my front yard. I know there are multiple varieties planted down here, but I can't tell which one would do best. The ones that I've come across are Drummond's, Autumn Blaze, and October Glory. Which one will do the best in the hot, humid Houston climate?

ANSWER:

Red maples are a popular landscape tree, and ones that you mention, which are cultivars of Acer rubrum (red maple), are spectacular. There is more to think about when selecting a tree than surviving hot and humid Houston. You need also to consider things like soil type, soil drainage, and soil pH; all of these affect the growth of the tree. Since we know none of these things about the site where the trees will be planted, it would be difficult to recommend a plant for you. instead, I will give you some information sources that can help you with your decision.

The first is the Texas Tree Planting Guide from the Texas Forest Service. By Using the Custom Tree Selector, you will learn their recommendations for Harris County.

This website of the Houston Parks and Recreation Dept has a wealth of information about trees ranging from selection, to planting, to complying with the tree ordinance.

Clicking on the name of each plant below will bring up a page of information about that cultivar.

Drummond's

October Glory

Autumn Blaze

For a source of help closer to home, I suggest that you contatct the folks at the  Texas AgriLife Extension Service for Harris County.

 


Acer rubrum

 

 

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