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

What caused purple heartwood in my Tuliptree?
June 15, 2009 - My Tulip tree was hit by lightning and all bark from the base of the tree up to 50 feet was blown off. The tree also sustained a significant crack through the trunk. When the tree was cut down, we...
view the full question and answer

Source for Ashe Juniper seeds from Blanco Co., TX
March 10, 2014 - I'm trying to find Ashe Juniper seeds to plant in bare areas of my property in central Texas. I understand they grow well in rockier soil and have many other benefits for native animal species. Unfo...
view the full question and answer

Stump sprouting of Oak trees in the wildfire area in Bastrop, TX.
May 13, 2012 - We live in Bastrop, Texas, in the wildfire area. We lost all of our trees. The oak trees have "suckers" growing from the base of the burned tree that has been cut down. They look like little bushe...
view the full question and answer

Source for trees from Burnet TX
August 19, 2012 - I am desperately searching the central Texas area for Pistacia Mexicana male and female trees to buy. I would like about four, maybe more. I live in the Killeen-Lampasas area and have been to seve...
view the full question and answer

Butternut blossom time from Milwaukee WI
June 08, 2012 - When does the butternut tree blossom?
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center