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?

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

Friday - July 23, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Native tree or shrub with fruit to espalier on fence
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I live in the Austin, TX area and I would like to choose a native tree or shrub to espalier on a fence in my garden. Ideally, I would like to use a tree that bears fruit. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

The University of Florida IFAS Extension has a very good article, Espaliers, that describes how to create and care for them that you might like to read  They also have tables of recommended species, but you should be aware that some of the species they recommend are not native and some are even considered invasive in Texas (e.g., Ligustrum japonicum).  Please don't plant invasives!  Here are a few recommendations for native trees from their list as well as some additional ones:

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum) and Prunus rivularis (creek plum) both produce edible plums.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon) is evergreen and the female plants have red berries that the birds like to eat.

Ilex decidua (possumhaw) is deciduous and female plants produce red berries for the birds.

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud) has beautiful blooms for a couple of weeks in February and March.

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar) is evergreen.

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac) is evergreen and has attractive flowers in the spring.

Viburnum rufidulum (rusty blackhaw) has showy spring flowers, dark blue berries and beautiful fall colors.

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) has edible fruits on the female trees.

Morus microphylla (Texas mulberry) produces edible fruits.

Vitis mustangensis (mustang grape) is a vine, of course, but it produces woody branches that would do well as an espalier and it does produce edible grapes that make delicious jelly.

Here are photos from our Image Gallery:


Prunus mexicana

Prunus rivularis

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex decidua

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Juniperus virginiana

Rhus virens

Viburnum rufidulum

Diospyros texana

Morus microphylla

Vitis mustangensis

 

 


 

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Blueberries in Arlington TX
August 25, 2009 - Which wild or native blueberries can I grow in Arlington Texas? I think it is zone 8?
view the full question and answer

Identification of fragrant, white-flowered bush in Arizona
April 14, 2013 - I'd like to identify a flowering bush which has white sweet-smelling flowers. It is growing in the Coconino National Forest in the area near the Airport vortex/Airport mesa in Sedona, Arizona. ...
view the full question and answer

Why are the leaves on my Laurel hedge turning brown in Everett, WA?
February 22, 2010 - Our laurel hedge seems to have brown leaves on the top of the bush. We haven't had a freezing winter so we are trying to figure out why some of the leaves are brown.
view the full question and answer

Cenizo dropping leaves from Corpus Christi TX
February 20, 2014 - Leucophyllum frutescens:I planted a Texas sage hedge in September of 2012. One of the plants is dropping its leaves. It is situated at the corner of an L-shape at the end of drive and corner of road. ...
view the full question and answer

Moving a volunteer holly from Springfield IL
October 11, 2010 - When would be the very best time to move a volunteer holly? I would say it is 3 years old, it stands about 5 feet tall, shaped like a very nice tree and it keeps its leaves. Thank you. Karen
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center