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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - October 12, 2010

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRANDYWINE MAPLE AND BIGTOOTH MAPLE - GEORGETOWN, TX
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

We live in the Georgetown area (north of Austin). We have a maple tree, that had a tag that read Brandywine. We wanted a bigtooth maple. What is the difference between what we have and what we wanted? Thanks.

ANSWER:

I'd ask for my money back. The tree you wanted is the better choice for your area.

Brandywine is a cultivar of Acer rubrum (Red maple)Acer grandidentatum (Big-toothed maple) (or bigtooth maple) is a different species. Both species are native to Texas, but their native ranges are very different. Here are a couple of links to USDA's website that show the distribution of each species:

Distribution of Acer rubrum

Distribution of Acer grandidentatum

You can see from the maps that Acer rubrum is native to the eastern part of Texas. It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil, has a high water use, and low drought tolerance. Acer grandidentatum is native to the western part of the state. It has lower water requirements, but it still likes moist soil, and it grows best in limestone based soil. Sounds more like Georgetown doesn't it?

 

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