En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
9 ratings

Saturday - April 24, 2010

From: Pearland, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree for sound block near Houston
Answered by: Nan Hampton


I live in Pearland, just south of Houston and am looking for a tree that I can plant along my fenceline between my neighbor and me that will block noise. We have a pool and entertain a lot, but they are older and complain about the noise. I have seen in some of your other postings wax myrtle or Texas Mountain Laurel. Will these grow well in Houston? The area gets full sun.


Morella cerifera (wax myrtle) will certainly do well in Houston, but Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) is not likely to do well since its range is the Texas hill country.  Mr. Smarty Plants assumes you want an evergreen tree to act as a noise barrier all year long.  Here are some other trees that are evergreen and are native to Harris County.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay)

Ilex opaca (American holly

Ehretia anacua (knockaway)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry)

Pinus taeda (loblolly pine)

You can find other trees, though not necessarily evergreen, for your area our Texas-East Recommended page.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of the plants above:

Morella cerifera

Ilex vomitoria


Magnolia virginiana

Ilex opaca

Ehretia anacua

Juniperus virginiana

Juniperus virginiana

Prunus caroliniana

Pinus taeda

More Trees Questions

Spot for communion and tree planting on Long Island
February 20, 2012 - I'm planning to combine my son's communion and a tree planting memorial for his uncle/godfather that passed on Valentine's Day. I'm looking for a venue on Long Island that can combine both on May ...
view the full question and answer

Can Condalia hookeri (Brasil or Bluewood condalia) self-pollinate?
May 07, 2014 - Good morning Mr. SP, I see from your description of Condalia hookeri that this species has bisexual flowers. Do you know if it is self-incompatible?
view the full question and answer

Identification of Diospyros texana at Enchanted Rock Park
April 07, 2007 - I took pictures last year in April of one particular large shrub in Enchanted Rock Park. The flowers are extremely fragrant, sort of cluster of tiny creamy white bell shaped. We came back this last we...
view the full question and answer

Screening Suggestions in Brooklyn, NY
March 08, 2013 - My neighbor directly in back of me has shrubs that are growing all over my fence. Also his 9-foot-tall shed facing me is rusted. What can I do to improve my view so that I can enjoy my backyard more?
view the full question and answer

Problem with oak trees in Mansfield, Texas
September 26, 2010 - We have lost 2 large oaks last year & now another is nearly gone. It has several large patches of missing bark - beneath a thin layer of skin-like membrane that seemed to separate it from the bark i...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center