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
1 rating

Thursday - September 23, 2010

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Replacement trees for southwest facing backyard in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

The back of the house we are purchasing faces southwest and is completely devoid of large shade trees. I have been told that the previously existing trees were destroyed by oak wilt. I am in love with the magnificent oaks that grow here in Austin. Is there a less susceptible species of oak that we could plant? How long would it take these trees to begin providing a reasonable amount of shade? If the oaks are very slow growing, is there another fast growing tree we could plant to shade the yard and back windows while waiting for the oaks to mature?

ANSWER:

First, lets get up to speed on oak wilt. Mr. Smarty Plants suggests reading the material from these three sources, Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership, the Texas Forest Service, and the USDA , to become more knowledgable about oak wilt. The fact that the previous trees died from oak wilt may be problematic, depending on how long they have been gone, and if there is any living root material beneath the soil. If there are oaks nearby, or if there is an old stump with stump sprouts, living roots could still host the fungus.

According to the  Texas Oak Wilt Information Partnership, the oak species least susceptible to oakwilt are: White oaks, including post oak (Q. stellata), bur oak (Q. macrocarpa), Mexican white oak (Q. polymorpha), white shin oak (Q. sinuata var. breviloba), Durand oak (Q. sinuata), Lacey oak (Q. laceyi), and chinkapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii), are resistant to the fungus and rarely die from oak wilt.

In terms of providing shading for windows while you are waiting for your trees to grow, have you considered vines? They are fast growing, some are evergreen while others are deciduous, and some have beautiful flowers. They could be a "temporary" fix for your windows. You would most likely need to provide trellises for them to grow on.

I'm including links to two answers from previously asked questions that concern fast growing trees and vines in Austin, TX.

   Question #1962

   Question #2394

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Non-native crape myrtle resistance to deer from Annapolis MD
April 06, 2013 - Is Crape Myrtle tree resistant to deers? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

New growth on live oaks in Houston
September 27, 2011 - My 2 10yr. old live oaks are putting out new growth (branches?) although, here in Houston, TX we are having such a drought. For the last 3 months, I have conscientiously watered my entire yard via ...
view the full question and answer

Mixed native plantings for steep slope in Austin
April 18, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: We wrote to you recently about plantings for a fairly steep slope in a park in Austin. We had asked about grasses and perennials. An article about planting on slopes in this mo...
view the full question and answer

Tree options for patio in Sun City West, Arizona.
January 07, 2011 - We have an area near our cement patio in Sun City West AZ where we would like to plant a shade tree. We planted a sissoo tree, but were told that the roots will damage the patio because of the proximi...
view the full question and answer

Non-native crape myrtles in Noblesville IN
August 01, 2012 - Can Crepe Myrtle trees be grown in Noblesville IN 46060? I believe we are zone five.
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