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 - December 07, 2009

From: Sulphur, OK
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: School children planting trees native to Oklahoma and North Texas
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Hello, I'll be going into grade school classrooms to teach children how to plant trees. Perhaps they will each plant a seed in a cup to take home to plant in their yard. I may even be able to get seedling trees from the local extension service and/or local tree farms. Can you please tell me what are the top 3 trees that will survive in Oklahoma and north Texas? Any other information you have will be appreciated such as the best way to go about doing this project. I'll be going into camps with hundreds of kids and school classrooms.


This sounds like an incredible project, and we are going to find trees native to those areas, and suggest the ones we feel would lend themselves to being planted by children. To begin, we Googled on "tree planting for children" and got several resources on that subject. We selected one that gives some general information on the subject: kidsface.org How to Plant a Tree, and suggest you use the same process to find more specialized information that you might need. That leaves us with our job of selecting three trees to recommend to you. We can't testify as to whether they are the "top three," they will just all be easily planted trees native to your planned area. You can search on your own by going to our Recommended Species section, and first clicking on North Texas on the map and then "tree" in the General Appearance drop-down menu. Repeat the search for Oklahoma. For our purposes, we are going to choose trees that don't get terribly big so that there won't be as much concern about them being planted too close to foundations or power wires. They all have attractive blooms, and we have included the Propagation Instructions with each:

Trees for Children to Plant in Oklahoma and North Texas:

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - Propagate by fresh seed, dormant cuttings, or semi-hardwood cuttings in late summer.

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) - member of Fabaceae (pea) family and has large legume-like pods producing seeds which sprout easily

Cotinus obovatus (American smoketree) - Propagation Material: Seeds
Description: Few seeds are formed. Those sown immediately after collection may take two springs to germinate. Scarification and stratification hasten germination. Smoke-trees are also propagated from root or stem cuttings or layering. Semi-hardwood or softwood cut

From our Image Gallery:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Chilopsis linearis

Cotinus obovatus



More Trees Questions

Fast-growing tree for Houston
January 19, 2009 - Please suggest me fast growing tree like Eucalyptus for Zip 77099 to protect building with its shade. I understand Eucalyptus is not good for our area and is flammable. Any other with similar fast gro...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of Tex-ash in Tucson AZ
December 02, 2011 - I planted a mature (15') Tex-Ash about a year ago. Lately more and more leaves seem to be browning and it has never filled out. I am concerned I am going to lose it if I don't get it something befor...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Ash drooping?
June 22, 2009 - Last spring, I bought a house in Austin, TX with a large Ash tree in the front yard. It looked fine last year, but has been looking funny since it leafed out this spring. It's as if the leaves are we...
view the full question and answer

Could hickory leaves be used as seasoning from Waynesboro VA
September 17, 2011 - I have a hickory tree. If I pull a leaf off and rip it then smell, there is a strong wonderful scent of hickory much like when I rip a mint leaf there is a strong smell of mint. So my question is, can...
view the full question and answer

Willows native to Wisconsin
July 01, 2005 - I have a small garden center in the far northern reaches of Wisconsin....and I specialize in native varieties for up here. I also help folks with lake shore restoration and preservation. There was...
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