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

Friday - January 08, 2010

From: Rockport, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Cedar Elm trees for Rockport, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford


Cedar Elm trees for the Gulf Coast area? I live alongside a fresh water lake with sandy soil that is 2 miles from the bays. Along the shoreline, I'd like to replace a Weeping Willow that is in decline and I read that Cedar Elms maybe a good choice. Will this tree be a good choice and tolerate moderate salt spray and stand up to the stiff southeast winds? I had many Cedar Elms in San Antonio and loved them. However, I never see them down in the Corpus/Rockport areas.


It does appear from this USDA Plant Profile of Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm) that it grows natively in and around Nueces and Aransas Counties on the Gulf Coast of Texas. From our Native Plant Database, here are the soil preferences for this tree: "Soil Description: Moist to dry, alkaline soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type, Limestone-based."

In terms of salt spray tolerance, the best we could get from a great many resources on this elm is that it was "moderate." Since that was the word you used, we are hoping that means both the soils and the salt tolerance would be appropriate for this elm. On the subject of withstanding winds, you probably know that a lot of the cedar elms grow in Central Texas, and we have lots of wind. We could find no information indicating that the cedar elm is unusually brittle or more subject to wind damage. Another piece of information we picked up was the natural habitat for Ulmus crassifolia is coastal plains. Looks to us like your area would certainly qualify for that. 

We really don't know, since we know this tree is native to your area, why you don't see many around. If you are curious as to whether disease or storm damage has reduced the population, we suggest you contact either the Nueces or Aransas County Extension Office. They would have more on-the-spot information. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

Ulmus crassifolia

Ulmus crassifolia

Ulmus crassifolia

Ulmus crassifolia




More Trees Questions

Do leaves with tannins make good compost from Austin
November 04, 2010 - I have a couple of old native pecan trees in my (or neighbor's) yard that drop bushels and bushels of leaves every fall. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I have a recollection that pecan leaves have...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for a replacement tree for Hackberry tree in Austin, TX in Austin TX.
May 25, 2013 - We have a large hackberry tree in our front yard. We are cutting it down this fall. I would like to replace it with a tree native to this area..preferably something fast growing. What are your reco...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Tag on oak tree in Buda, TX
April 02, 2008 - I found a large oak tree on my property with a tag that has a number on it. Any idea what that means?
view the full question and answer

Sap dripping from redbud in Bertram, TX
March 03, 2014 - Our multi-trunked Texas redbud has sap dripping down 3 of the trunks. It seems to originate from a very small crack in each trunk. The tree is just starting to show pink this week, and is about to blo...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center