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Mr. Smarty Plants - Replacement trees for southwest facing backyard in Austin, TX.

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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

 

 

 

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