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

Transplanting a native Texas Persimmon in Austin
October 18, 2008 - I have a Texas Persimmon, approx. 2.5 feet tall, growing in a 5 gal. pot. When should it be transplanted and where? How much sun? Could it grow in a larger pot for a time> Do deer like it? Thank ...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing, flowering shade tree for Austin
April 28, 2012 - Sister just moved to Austin Texas. She is looking for fast growing shade trees, preferably one with nice flowers. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Mexican Plum not doing well in Liberty Hill, TX.
September 03, 2010 - Two summers have passed since I planted my Mexican Plum. It's in full sun. It seems to have added height but not much width. It's virtually a 7 foot stick with 1 foot branches from top to bottom. It...
view the full question and answer

Native trees with yellow fall leaves
December 10, 2007 - Hello, I want to plant a medium sized tree in my back yard that has yellow foliage in the fall. I've seen Yellow (in the fall) trees in my part of town (south Austin around West William Cannon)th...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant plants for under cedar and oak trees in Austin
June 22, 2010 - I have about 1.5 acres in southern Travis county. It's full of mature live oaks and cedar trees, and the soil is full of limestone. I've been gathering the limestone and using them to create raise...
view the full question and answer

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