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

Thursday - April 07, 2011

From: Medford, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Native trees for Medford MA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Two quick questions. 1) what trees would grow happily along the banks of the Mystic River in Medford, MA? 2) Would it be o.k. to plant weeping willows? Are they indigenous to the area? I'm not a purist, but my neighbor is. Thanking you in advance for any answers.

ANSWER:

If we may address your last question first: 

Salix x sepulcralis is a hybrid of a Chinese species (Peking willow) and a European species (white willow), and is said to grow in Zones 5 to 8 in the United States. It is weak-wooded, fast-growing and, therefore, short-lived. It has aggressive roots, can lift sidewalks and interfere with sewer lines, often growing on soil surface, making a problem with mowing. It is susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, and notorious for littering the ground beneath it. That is to say, we don't like it.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center will recommend only plants native not only to North America but to the area in which those plants are being grown. So, we will go to our Recommended Species section of our Native Plant Database, and look for trees native to the area of Middlesex County on the eastern side of Massachusetts, about 5 miles from Boston, in USDA Hardiness Zone 6a. 

You may follow the same steps we did, going to the Recommended Species section linked above, click on Massachusetts on the map (or the "MA" at the side, Massachusetts is a pretty small state to click). This will generate a list of 111 native plants for that state. On the sidebar on the right-hand side of that page, you can select "tree" under General Appearance, which is all we did as we did not know if you had a shaded situation, dry soil or what. Those are specifications you can put in when you are doing your own search. When we selected on "tree" and Narrow Your Search, we got a list of 43 trees native to Massachusetts. Of those, we chose 8 that we thought would work well for you, and will link you to the USDA Plant Profile map on each to make sure the trees we chose are native to Middlesex County. You will be able to follow each plant link to our webpage on the plant to learn what soils it likes, how much moisture it needs, when and what color it blooms, expected height, propagation and benefits.

Trees for Middlesex County, Massachusetts:

Chamaecyparis thyoides (Atlantic white cedar) - evergreen, 40 to 75 ft. high, habitat chiefly swamps and bogs, part shade, moist sandy soil USDA Plant Profile Map

Fagus grandifolia (American beech) - 50 to 80 ft., habitat wet lowland sites, part shade or shade USDA Plant Profile

Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar) - 30 to 40 ft., evergreen, woodland edge, savannahs USDA Plant Profile

Larix laricina (Tamarack) - 50 to 75 ft., cold bogs and wet forests, sun or shade USDA Plant Profile

Liriodendron tulipifera (Tuliptree) - up to 150 ft. tall, low, rich woods, stream banks, sun or shade, USDA Plant Profile

Magnolia acuminata (Cucumbertree) - 60 to 75 ft. tall, low rich woods, stream banks, sun part shade or shade USDA Plant Profile

Pinus strobus (Eastern white pine) - 75 to 100 ft. tall, evergreen, rocky stream banks, sun, part shade or shade USDA Plant Profile

Quercus palustris (Pin oak) - 60 to 70 ft., wet woods, bottomlands, sun, part shade or shade USDA Plant Profile

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Chamaecyparis thyoides

Fagus grandifolia

Juniperus virginiana

Larix laricina

Liriodendron tulipifera

Magnolia acuminata

Pinus strobus

Quercus palustris










 

More Trees Questions

Tree with taproot for Jodhpur India
July 05, 2013 - I am a resident of India. I need information of a tree with tap roots to grow in my backyard. We have moderate to hot climate here. It needs to be as small as possible due to lack of space. It'd be g...
view the full question and answer

Tree for South Dakota
April 24, 2012 - Sir, I am looking for suggestions on a backyard tree, nice shade tree 60-80' height to complement a split foyer house and a flowering crab that is currently there. Low maintenance, with no seeds or c...
view the full question and answer

Will Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) be toxic to chickens?
July 25, 2010 - We are considering planting Carolina Cherry Laurels around our yard for dense hedging purposes. We are concerned because we have a small flock of free-ranging chickens who eat every seed and leaf in ...
view the full question and answer

Removing a non-native windmill palm from Austin
February 27, 2013 - I have a fairly good size windmill palm (about 15ft high) that is planted too close to the house. I also don't like having to constantly remove its fronds as they block a walkway. Is there a good wa...
view the full question and answer

Moving a red oak away from the house foundation
January 24, 2008 - About a 3 weeks ago I noticed a 5 ft. red oak growing in my flower bed. I hadn't noticed it growing up through my shrubs until the leaves turned bright red. The problem is that its coming up about tw...
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