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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 - March 23, 2010

From: Nederland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Replacement of black willows killed by Hurricane in Nederland, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hurricane Ike wiped out all the native black willow trips in Texas Ornithological Birding Sanctuary in Sabine Pass and 5 miles down the road at Sea Rim Park. We had hoped that after 1 1/2 years, they might come back , but the saltwater simply stayed on them for about a week at least after the hurricane, and evidently totally killed each one. Where can we purchase black willow trees that are native to Texas? We need about 100.

ANSWER:

We would suggest the first thing you should do is see this article from the Texas Forest Service Hurricane Ike Response and Recovery. Then go to their Home Page where you will find links to, among others, "Landowners." This Home Page lists contact information, including e-mail. We don't know exactly the extent to which they can help you, but it certainly looks like a good place to start. 

Of course, it makes no difference what the normal growing conditions are for a plant, a hurricane breaks all the rules. For our own information, we looked for  websites about this sanctuary; the first one we found is Sabine Woods.

Other sites we looked at were from Texas eBird Post-Ike Upper Texas Coast Birding Update and  Texas Parks and Wildlife, and the Texas Forest Service. We realize that you are already familiar with these sites; what we were looking for was some information on the kinds of help you might be eligible for. This sounds like a considerable effort, and perhaps more than a non-profit organization could handle without help. Whether any of these resources will turn up any information that would be of use, we don't know, but suggest you contact them. 

Beyond that, about all we can do is answer your question, to try to find some possible sources for purchase of these plants. Go to our Suppliers section, where you will find the National Suppliers Directory.  On this page, type in the city and state in the "Enter Search Location" box, and you will get a list of native plant seed suppliers, nurseries and consultants in your general area. You will almost surely need to have these ordered for you from a wholesaler, and should check to find out what is the best time to plant, probably in late Fall or early Winter. When we used "Nederland TX" in this search, we got back the names of 6 nurseries and 6 seed companies; all have contact information, both phone and e-mail. If they don't have sources for the plants you want, perhaps they will be able to recommend a company that does. 

In our Native Plant Database, here are the Growing Conditions we have on Salix nigra (black willow)

Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Soil Description: Clay, Loam, Sand
Conditions Comments: Short-lived and fast-growing. Susceptible to insect and wind damage.

Since it is now obvious that this tree cannot withstand storms and we already know that it suffers from insect and wind damage, you might consider replacing those trees with more of the oaks which are apparently already dominant, at least in the Sabine woods. This is only a suggestion, and you might get better suggestions still from the Texas Forest Service.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery: 


Salix nigra

Salix nigra

Salix nigra

Salix nigra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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