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

Wildflowers that grow in woodlands
June 22, 2011 - Please tell me the names of wildflowers that grow under your oak trees in Texas. I am only familiar with those open meadow plants, not those that live under the deciduous trees. Thank you for your t...
view the full question and answer

Pruning mature cedar elm trees in San Antonio
September 14, 2008 - When is the right time to prune my several mature cedar elm trees? I'm in San Antonio, and they have never been trimmed in the 55 years we have lived in this home. I have several that are at least 7...
view the full question and answer

Can a Texas Mountain Laurel be grown in Drake CO
August 22, 2010 - I live in Colorado, in the mountains near Estes Park, and would like to plant the Texas Mountain Laurel. Can they be grown in this environment. I would be willing to grow them in containers so I could...
view the full question and answer

Knots growing on Arizona Ash in Richmond, TX
October 23, 2008 - I have three Arizona Ash trees around my house the trunks are at least 15" in diameter. One of the three has at least 25 large knots growing on its trunk, some maybe 6-8" in size. What are they? Are...
view the full question and answer

Bulging trunks on post oak
August 05, 2011 - I have a huge post oak with a codominant trunk that is bulging between the two main trunks. The bulging is causing the trunks to spread apart, so one of the trunks is getting much too close to the ho...
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