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?


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
1 rating

Tuesday - April 05, 2011

From: San Augustine, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants, Trees
Title: Looking for fruit and nut trees to plant in San Augustine, TX
Answered by: Jimmy Mills


I am setting up residence in San Augustine, Texas on approximately 9 acres of land. We wanted to plant a few of each type of fruit and nut trees that would prosper in the area (for wildlife and for our own consumption). Could you provide a list or a site that details what type and best places to plant these trees? Our soil is sandy and has a great deal of red clay. Would also be interested in a list of the best crops for the area. Thinking about piping water over from a spring for drip irrigation.


I would like to preface my answer by stating that the mission  of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.

In the case of nut trees, we have pecans Carya illinoinensis (Pecan), walnuts  Juglans nigra (Black walnut) , hickory nuts Carya ovata (Shagbark hickory), and lots of oak trees that produce acorns for the critters eg.Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak). Human consumption is limited mostly to pecans..

The term fruit trees usually conjures up the image of apples, pears, peaches, oranges  etc.,  most of which are not native to Texas or the US. Some fruit bearing trees suitable for wildlife include the Hollies [ Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon),Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)], Wax myrtle Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle), and wild plums Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel) & Prunus umbellata (Hog plum).  For other possibilities, go to our Native Plant Database and scroll down to the Recommended Species box. Clicking on the map will give you an enlarged version where you can click on East Texas. This will give you a list of 133 commercially available native species suitable for landscapes in East Texas. Clicking on the name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which gives the characteristics of the plant, its growth requirements, and pictures. Going to the narrow your seach box will allow you to shorten your list. Select Texas under state, Tree underGeneral Appearance, and Perennial under Lifespan. Check sun for Light Requirement and Moist for Soil Moisture. Click the "Narrow your search" box and your list is reduced to 13 species. This will help you select plants that are suitable for your location.

Your question about the best crops for the area makes me wonder if you  might be more interested in farming that gardening. To that end, I recommend that you get in contact with the folks at the San Agustine County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension.


From the Image Gallery

Carya illinoinensis

Shagbark hickory
Carya ovata

Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Ilex vomitoria

Ilex decidua

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Cherry laurel
Prunus caroliniana

Flatwoods plum
Prunus umbellata

More Trees Questions

What's causing holes in trunk of white oak tree in SouthBend IN?
June 10, 2013 - We have a huge White Oak in our backyard that is approx. 130 years old. This evening I became aware that there are several small holes around the trunk that appear to be oozing a dark sappy liquid. ...
view the full question and answer

Low Water Use Plants for a Pond Island
November 06, 2014 - We have a medium sized pond/tank with a small island covered in black willows. The pond loses a lot of water and we were told it was partially due to the willows. We want to remove them and replace ...
view the full question and answer

Leaves on Spanish oaks in Hays County TX dying
April 18, 2009 - I have many Spanish Oaks on my Hays County property. The leaves started blooming last week, but this week all the young leaves are brown and appear to be dying. This is happening to all the otherwise ...
view the full question and answer

Heat tolerant arborvitae for Spring TX
September 20, 2012 - Is there an arborvitae that would be heat-tolerant to Spring, Texas (north of Houston) and amenable to neutral clay soil?
view the full question and answer

Deer Resistant Evergreens for Pennsylvania Woods
March 12, 2015 - We are looking for evergreens that will grow in a partially shaded/wooded area and are ideally deer resistant. Hemlocks are out because of a parasite infestation in our area of Pennsylvania.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center