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?

Share

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

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Solution for wet area near fence
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I just moved into a house that is 10 years old on the north side of Houston, Texas. When it rains the water pools about 1 to 3 inches deep around the beds with trees (pine, sweet gum and chinaberry) and along the fence. Should we put in 75 feet of drain pipe or plant some thirsty trees? The fence is far enough from the house to plant some trees to shade the west side of the house and drink up the water. Can you suggest something besides willow trees?

ANSWER:

I sounds as if it might be a good idea for you to find a way to keep the water from pooling there.  A French drain might be a good solution.  You might be able to do this yourself at relatively little expense or you can also find landscape professionals in the Houston area by searching in our National Suppliers Directory who could help you do this.  There are trees that will tolerate wet areas well, but that doesn't mean that they are going to "drink" up the excess water. With the exception of the bald cypress, none of them will be happy growing in standing water for a long period.  They should all be good shade trees:

Quercus phellos (willow oak)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Quercus michauxii (swamp chestnut oak)

Betula nigra (river birch)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Carya illinoinensis (pecan)

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of these trees:


Quercus phellos

Platanus occidentalis

Quercus michauxii

Betula nigra

Taxodium distichum

Carya illinoinensis

 

 

More Trees Questions

Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
May 30, 2008 - Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin. I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?
view the full question and answer

Webbing on oak leaves and fuzzy yellow growths on leaf veins
November 09, 2010 - I have a large red oak(?) and live oak that appear to have the same problem. Clumps of leaves all over the trees are covered by fine webbing and the leaves appear to be curling up and dying in the we...
view the full question and answer

Native maples for the Austin, TX area
May 21, 2005 - I am new to the state of Texas. I lived in Canada all of my life and miss my maple trees. Are maple trees (green or red leafed varieties) able to thrive in Austin?
view the full question and answer

Why is cedar pollen so heavy this year?
January 08, 2011 - Dear Mr Smarty, Is this year a heavier than normal year for cedar pollen?? If so why?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chamaecyparis pisiflora turning brown in Fuqua-Varina NC
December 10, 2012 - I have a "Soft Serve False Cypress" Chamaecyparis pisifera'Dow Whiting PPAF, that has only been in the ground for 6-7 months. I just noticed that the branches and leaves are starting to die, turni...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center