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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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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

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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