En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - December 25, 2010

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Mid-sized tree that does not attract moths for Katy, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I recently started to get interested in gardening. I live in Katy Texas and am looking for a medium sized tree I can grow in my backyard. I don't mind a tree that attracts birds or butterflies but I am extremely afraid of moths so I'm trying to find a tree that won't attract that many moths. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

We are always glad to welcome beginning gardeners. To help put you on what we consider the right track, please read the following of our How-To Articles:

Using Native Plants

A Guide to Native Plant Gardening

Next, let us give you a quick tutorial on how to find trees native to your area that suit your requirements and also what insects those trees may attract. Go to our Recommended Species section, and click on "East Texas" on the map. The Recommended Species lists on our website consists of plants that should do well in the indicated areas, and are commercially available. When you click on East Texas on the map, you will get a list of 133 plants, with pictures, of those that fit the criteria of being native to that area. Next, on the sidebar on the right hand side of that page, under General Appearance, click on "tree." If you know what light exposure your plant will have (shade, part shade or shade) indicate that on the Light Requirements drop-down menu. There are other specifications, including bloom time and color, and soil moisture, that you can use to narrow down your selections even more. Clicking only on "Trees" gave us a list of 45 trees to choose from.

For our example, we selected Aesculus pavia (Scarlet buckeye), and by reading the entire page on that plant, we learned that it grows from 12 to 36 ft. in height, blooms red and yellow from March to May, is deciduous, likes acidic soil, has medium water needs, and likes to grow in part shade. Its flowers attract hummingbirds and bees. We will list some more samples of trees you could use, and you can follow the links to the page on each individual plant.

On the subject of moths, here is an article on What Plants Attract Moths? from North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension, which points out that moths like night-blooming plants. There are some yuccas that depend on a certain type of moth for pollination, but we could find no trees (which doesn't mean there aren't any) that specifically attract moths.

You can use this same method to select other types of plants-herbaceous blooming plants, shrubs, vines, succulents, and ferns-for your garden.

Trees for the Katy, TX Area:

Aesculus pavia (Scarlet buckeye)

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Chionanthus virginicus (White fringetree)

Crataegus marshallii (Parsley hawthorn)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel)

Vaccinium arboreum (Farkleberry)

Viburnum rufidulum (Rusty blackhaw viburnum)

From Our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Aesculus pavia


Cercis canadensis var. texensis


Chionanthus virginicus


Crataegus marshallii


Ilex vomitoria


Prunus caroliniana


Vaccinium arboreum


Viburnum rufidulum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Cotonwood fluff in Kansas
May 23, 2010 - Two weeks ago my yard, deck pond became covered in seeds/leaves not sure what it is but it looks like oatmeal. Any idea what plant it might come from.
view the full question and answer

Hill Country natives for a hedge
June 01, 2006 - Can you recommend a "hedge type" bush to use in lieu of a fence along the road in the San Antonio region? My whole back yard is planted with Hill Country natives and I would prefer to keep the the...
view the full question and answer

Washingtonia palms need to be skirted?
August 31, 2008 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have five Washingtonia palms on my property that have never been skirted and look rather shabby. The interesting thing is that they have thrived (20-30 ft) here to begin with...
view the full question and answer

Name of the cedar tree at Lake Travis
May 27, 2009 - What is the name of the cedar tree that is at Lake Travis?
view the full question and answer

Native trees of Hornsby Bend in Austin, TX
April 10, 2013 - We are looking for a list of the trees occurring along and in the vicinity of the Colorado River at Hornsby Bend circa 1820.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center