En Español

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

Tuesday - April 26, 2011

From: Randolph, NJ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Would like suggestions for a tree or bush to be given as a memorial gift for friends in Austin, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Hello, I would like to give a memorial gift of a tree and/or bush native to the Austin area to friends living there. Any suggestions? Local vendors would be appreciated also. Thanks very much!

ANSWER:

A tree or shrub is a very thoughtful memorial that can be appreciated for years to come. Since we don't have information about the location where the tree will be planted ie.  soil type, sun or shade, moisture, etc.. I will give you some resources to use for selecting a tree/shrub.

The first is the Texas Tree Planting Guide  presented by the Texas Forest Service.  It features the Tree Selector which is fun to use and helps you match a tree for a particular location. One piece of information that you need to know to use it is that Austin is in Travis County. 

The next resource is our Recommended Species Lists. Clicking on Central Texas on the map will bring up a list of 156 Commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Central Texas. You can reduce this list by going to the Narrow Your Search box on the right side of the page and make these selections; select Texas under state, Tree under General Appearance, and Perennial under Lifespan. Check Sun under Light requirement, and Moist under Soil Moisture. Click the Narrow your Search button, and your list shrinks to 12.  You can get different lists by changing your selection criteria. Repeating the process and selecting Shrub under General Appearance instead of Tree will give you a list of 8 species of shrubs for use in Central Texas. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has a description of the plant, its growth requirements, and photos.

Some trees that Mr. Smarty Plants likes;

Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak)    One of our beautiful oaks, but a relativly slow grower.

Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak)  Another oak with a moderate growth rate.

Fraxinus texensis (Texas ash)  Texas ash is a fast growing small tree, 30-45 ft. tall.  Pinnate leaves have brilliant fall color.

Carya illinoinensis (Pecan)   The state tree of Texas.

Some shrubs that Mr. Smarty Plants likes;

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)  Yaupon is a picturesque, upright, evergreen,  shrub or small tree, growing 12-45 ft high. Female plants produce prodigious amounts of bright red, persistent berries.

Ilex decidua (Possumhaw)  A small deciduous tree or shrub with an interesting name. Very conspicuous in the winter because of the numerous red berries on its bare stems.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)  A popular evergreen ornamental plant with foliage that has a spicy fragrance. Can be trimed to form a hedge.

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)  Can grow as a small tree or large shrub. It's a favorite in Austin because of its showy purple flowers.


Consult our Suppliers Directory for help locating the plant(s) of your choice.

Some images from our Photo Gallery.


Quercus macrocarpa


Quercus muehlenbergii


Quercus muehlenbergii


Fraxinus texensis


Carya illinoinensis


Ilex vomitoria


Ilex decidua


Morella cerifera


Sophora secundiflora

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Live Oaks and Foundations
September 22, 2009 - I have a young live oak (18 inch trunk at it's base) growing within four feet of my house. What kind of damage can it cause my foundation? Need your help!
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for trees with non-invasive root system in Paramus, NJ.
August 23, 2011 - What trees can I plant in New Jersey with non invasive root systems? We lost our tree to a storm and are looking for a viable replacement.
view the full question and answer

Non-branching mimosa tree
June 26, 2008 - I have a Mimosa Tree, just about 2 years old, grown from seed. The problem with it is that it has not branched out, it looks like one long branch growing out of the ground, about 5 feet if stood strai...
view the full question and answer

Hurricane damage on oak in Houston
April 01, 2013 - We have a very large oak tree that survived our last hurricane with lots of lost limbs. Then there was the drought. We have lost three large limbs on separate occasions on non-windy days. I love this ...
view the full question and answer

Affect of poisonous plant roots in soils for vegetables from Rusk TX
May 11, 2013 - I have a huge old flowerbed in front of my house that I want to plant veggies in, but I'm afraid to. It has a catalpa tree there, which I sell the worms from, but the entire tree (bark, leaves, flowe...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center