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

Monday - February 07, 2011

From: North Richland Hills, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Looking for a shrub to provide shade to the west side of a home in Ft. Worth, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We are on a corner lot and are looking for a tall tree or shrub to block the west side of our house. There is only a 5 foot area space between the sidewalk and side driveway where we want to plant the tree/shrub. We would like something that will not bother the foundation yet provide ample shade upon maturity due to the fact that we live in the Fort Worth, Texas area.

ANSWER:

Putting a tree in that small space could have two possible outcomes: 1) a poorly growing tree, or 2) a healthy tree but cracked sidewalk and driveway. (actually, there are probably more possibilities).

This link from the Texas Forest Service has good information about selecting tree sizes and their space requirements.

An alternative is to plant shrubs that will grow to sufficient size to shade the west side of the house, but have a less extensive root system than a tree. I have a short list for your consideration of both evergreen shrubs and deciduos shrubs. The deciduous shrubs will provide cover for the house during the summer, but allow the sun to warm the side of the house once their leaves are gone.

 Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac)  evergreen 

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)   evergreen 

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)  evergreen 

Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac)  deciduous 

 Castanea pumila (Chinkapin)  deciduous  (more pictures)

Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)     deciduous   

 For more choices,  go to the Native Plant Database and check it out. After clicking on the link, scroll down to the Combination Search Box, and make the following selections: choose Texas under State, Shrub under Habit, and Perrenial under Duration. Check Sun under Light requirement, and Dry under Soil moisture. Click the "Submit combination Search" button and you will get a list of 87 native species occurring in Texas that meet these parameters. Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its NPIN database page that contains the plant's characteristics, its growth requirements as well as pictures.

A third alternative is to plant a vine on a trellis. A deciduous vine would also allow the winter sun to shine through to warm the wall of the house. To look at choices, go back to the Combination Search Box on the Native Plant Database page. This time choose Vine under habit, leaving all of the other choices the same, click the "Submit combination Search" button, and you will get a list of 14 plants that match the parameters.

For additional help, contact the folks at the Tarrant County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension.


Rhus virens


Ilex vomitoria


Morella cerifera


Rhus glabra


Ilex decidua

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Deer resistant, drought and shade tolerant plants to go under oak tree in Austin
March 21, 2011 - What is the best deer resistant, drought resistant native plant to grow under my huge Oak tree? Grass does not grow. Will iris bloom?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a Austin thicket underlayer
July 25, 2014 - We live in Austin, west of 183. We are planning to put a thicket in our backyard, where there is no threat of deer. Anchoring the thicket are a clump of live oaks, a Texas persimmon, an Eve's Necklac...
view the full question and answer

Shade tree with no roots to interfere with patio in Lake City FL
April 24, 2011 - I have a 4x4 area surrounded by cement patio but would like a tree for shade that does not have roots that will mess up the slab.
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for dry shade in North Central Texas
March 09, 2008 - I live in North Central Texas and have an area that is 80% shade and a dry soil condition. What native grasses would be suitable for this location?
view the full question and answer

Plants for dry shade in West Virginia
April 22, 2010 - I live in Mannington, WV and I am wanting to do some landscaping. The area that I would like to plant in is very dry and gets little to no sunlight. I would like to plant something that will come back...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center