Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - April 04, 2011

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Possibility of growing a Lacey Oak in Katy, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Katy, TX - west of Houston and would like to place a Lacey Oak tree in my yard. We enjoyed this tree in our former home south of Dallas - and I understand it does better in alkaline soils; but, it is rated as a Texas Superstar and the literature says it will tolerate well-drained clay soils. So, do you believe I would have success growing it at this location and, if so, what steps can I do to ensure that success. Also, I've been unable to find these anywhere in the Houston area. Are you able to tell me where the nearest dealer is who might carry this selection? Thank you for your time.

ANSWER:

Did you not think maybe there was a message in the fact that you couldn't find a Lacey Oak in your area? Granted, nurseries sell a lot of things that are not native to an area, or even North America, and we always advise people to remember that just because a plant is sold locally doesn't mean it will grow locally. In your case, you can't even find it. So, let us see what we can find out and try to advise you to do.

This USDA Plant Profile map shows that Quercus laceyi (Lacey oak) does not grow in East Texas, but only Central and far West Texas. Follow the plant link to learn more about the growing conditions and soils preferred for this tree. Also from that page is this note:

"According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations: Hill Country Natives - Leander, TX"

Leander is in the Hill Country, near Austin, and a fair step from Katy to buy a tree. You might try going to our National Suppliers Directory, type your town and state in the "Enter Search Location" box and you will get a list of native plant nurseries, seed companies and landscape and environment consultants in your general area. All have contact information, and you could get in touch with them in advance to see if they have the tree in stock. Since Katy is in three counties, we would suggest that you pick the county in which you are located and contact the Extension Office for Harris, Ft. Bend or Waller County and ask what they advise about the Lacey Oak for your area.

Instead of that, we would like you to consider planting trees native to East Texas that are much more likely to prosper in your normal rainfall, temperatures and soils. Go to our Recommended Species section, click on East Texas on the map, which will generate a list of 133 plants recommended for that area. Using the sidebar on the right hand side of the page, select "tree" under General Appearance, and you will get a list of 45 trees that are expected to do well where you are. Just to get you started, we will give you a short list of our suggestions. When you follow the plant link to our page on each tree, note that it will tell you the expected size of the tree, what requirements for sun it has, propagation instructions and benefits.

Trees for East Texas:

Ilex opaca (American holly) - evergreen, 25 to 60 ft. tall, sun, part shade or shade, moist well-drained acidic soils, attractive to birds

 Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon) - evergreen, 12 to 45 ft. tall, sun, part shade or shade

Magnolia grandiflora (Southern magnolia) - evergreen, to 50 ft. tall, fragrant white blooms April to June, rich acidic soils

Quercus alba (White oak) - deciduous, to 100 ft., sun or part shade, acidic soil

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Pruning dogwood in TX
February 02, 2011 - I have a roughleaf dogwood (Cornus drummondii) sapling that I would like to keep at shrub height (~6 ft) rather than let it form a tree. Can I encourage this by cutting the main trunk, and if so, by ...
view the full question and answer

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
view the full question and answer

Specifications for a property in Corning CA
March 29, 2012 - Drought resistant, deer resistant, low growing (ground cover), and shade tolerant request: I am looking for a variety of species that not only fit the above preferences, but also a few other things. ...
view the full question and answer

Young pecan trees with leaf and branch problems from Gatesville TX
November 18, 2013 - I have a young pecan tree that had very rapidly browning Leaves. They became brittle and so did the branches with affected leaves. The branches soon fell off. We treated with fungicide during that pro...
view the full question and answer

Brown leaves on Burr Oak from Dripping Springs TX
October 05, 2013 - We have recently planted a 15 gal. burr oak in an correct hole with great soil and plenty of watering in. We have noticed some brown leaves. Should we be worried?
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.