Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
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

Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade
January 03, 2014 - I promised my mom to help her with some new plants for her house, so here goes. She lives near Waco on Blackland clay soil. The problem area is right in front of the house. It only receives a few hour...
view the full question and answer

Salt tolerant plants for shade on tidal inlet in NY
August 11, 2013 - Are there any salt water tolerant grasses or forbs with deep roots that grow in shade? I live on a tidal inlet/canal on Long Island NY. The southern bank has cedars and oaks but the soil is eroding ...
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant groundcover plants for Tarrant County, Texas
November 01, 2011 - I live in far NE Tarrant County (Ft Worth), TX and need a groundcover that can tolerate complete shade and poor, rocky, clay soil. I need mostly for erosion control, and needs to be relatively low
view the full question and answer

Drought and Shade tolerant plants for Wichita Falls, TX
July 24, 2015 - I can find lots of information about planting drought tolerant, sun loving native plants, a number of which I've planted over the years. But I can find very little information about drought tolerant ...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs for shade in Peoria, Arizona
February 25, 2009 - My six-foot block wall is on the west side of my yard. There are two large shade trees in front of the wall. What kind of shrubs can I plant near this wall that only gets sun for about 2 hours in th...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.