Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - July 13, 2010

From: Schertz, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: More trees to go with live oaks in Schertz TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We moved to a new house that has two recently planted live oak trees. Other than those two little trees there is nothing else on the property. Because of what I read about the oak wilt I would like to plant more trees close to the live oaks that can survive in case of a problem with the existing trees. Can you suggest some trees that can be planted with the live oaks I already have. I would hate to see my backyard in five years with no trees at all. Back yard: 70' wide, 30' long. I would appreciate your expert advice. Thank you.

ANSWER:

First, take a look at this Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership website to find out what we know about the disease. Particularly, read the section on How to Identify and Manage Oak Wilt in Texas. Schertz seems to be in 3 different counties; depending on which county you live in, you will be in Johnson County District for Oak Wilt Control (Comal County) or the Kerrville District (Bexar and Guadalupe Counties). 

The first and most important step in controlling Oak Wilt is to not let it get started. Rule 1: Avoid any kind of damage (lawnmower bumps, weedeater, etc.) to the bark all the time. Rule 2: Do no pruning on the live oak from February to June. For more complete instructions see, from the same website, Only You Can Prevent Oak Wilt. Finally, not only can the fungus that is oak wilt be spread by the nitidulid beetle but also through roots, so don't allow your trees to form a motte. Keep root suckers trimmed away from your existing trees and don't plant any more red oaks or live oaks.

Now, on to your original question, what are other trees that will not be susceptible to Oak Wilt? There are other oaks, members of the White Oak group, that are not nearly as susceptible  to Oak Wilt and seldom die from it, but why push your luck? There are plenty of nice trees native to Central Texas that will work in your landscape. Most importantly, just do your planning, not your planting, right now. This is not the time to be planting anything in Central Texas. Transplant shock for both plant and gardener are inevitable, and while the gardener might survive, the plant probably would not. November is usually the best time, and don't buy the trees until you are ready to plant them. Examine them to make sure they are not root-bound and that they are recent arrivals in the nursery and have not been sitting around in a pot for months. 

Follow each plant link to our page on that individual tree to learn what its growing conditions are, speed of growth and projected size. This last is important; don't get carried away and plant too many too close together, that will only cause problems as they grow. 

Trees for a Landscape in Central Texas:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon)

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii (western soapberry)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Chilopsis linearis

Diospyros texana

Juniperus virginiana

Prunus mexicana

Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii

Sophora secundiflora

Taxodium distichum

 

 

 

 

 

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Need to identify leaf extensions on the leaves of an elm sapling in Houston, Tx.
May 22, 2013 - I have an elm sapling which grows strange leave extensions on its leaves. Can I send you a picture? Tree looks healthy
view the full question and answer

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Dying leaves on Autumn Blaze Maple tree in Littleton, CO
May 25, 2012 - I have an autumn blaze maple where for the last two years the left side of the tree turns light green, then brown, and leaves die. The right side is dark green, normal. Is this a water over/under pr...
view the full question and answer

Problems with crossvine from Semmes AL
January 06, 2013 - I have a 3 year old cross vine (tangerine beauty) and the leaves have started turning black and falling off the plant. I have two plants growing on the same pergola (opposite ends) and the second plan...
view the full question and answer

Hibiscus plants being attacked by powdery mildew, or maybe mealy bugs in Austin, TX.
August 10, 2011 - I have three hibiscus plants planted outside about a foot apart from each other. The one that gets most of the sunlight is the worse off of the three. However, all three of them have white powdery stu...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.