Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
5 ratings

Wednesday - May 03, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Invasive, non-native Paulownia
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Hi. We would like to plant a fast growing tree that will provide shade for our house. What do you think of the Paulownia tree (Empress Tree) as a possibility for the Austin area? If this is not a good choice, what do you suggest for a two story home?

ANSWER:

Paulownia is a beautiful, extremely fast-growing tree which I would heartily recommend if you lived in eastern Asia, where it is originally from. However, in several parts of the United States it is considered invasive, including in Texas.

As far as I know, there are no Central Texas trees that will grow as fast as a Paulownia, but what our native trees lack in speed of growth they make up for in wood strength, suitability for local conditions, and stately beauty.

Some tall Central Texas trees suitable for shading a two-story house over time include:

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)
Escarpment Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia)
Escarpment Black Cherry (Prunus serotina var. eximia)

Some smaller ornamental trees with showy blooms that you could use as foreground or accent plantings include:

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
Texas Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis)
Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa)


Carya illinoinensis

Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus shumardii

Quercus fusiformis

Ulmus crassifolia

Prunus serotina var. eximia

Sophora secundiflora

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Ungnadia speciosa
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Possible damage by invasive, non-native earthworms in compost
January 03, 2007 - I received a worm bin (vermicomposter) for Christmas. The instructions that came with the bin say to use the red wiggler worm (Eisenia foetida) and that it is okay if some of the worms go into your g...
view the full question and answer

Trimming time for non-native Pampas grass in Leland NC
April 26, 2010 - When is the best time to trim Pampas plants, onset of winter or onset of spring? Also, what's the best way to trim and how far should they be cut back?
view the full question and answer

Regulations for transporting plants to Texas from Florida
July 29, 2008 - We are relocating to TX from FL, I have a collection of potted palm trees and quite a few potted tropical plants (none are invasive)that I would like to bring with us, we will be traveling by car and ...
view the full question and answer

Will corn fall victim to allelopathy from hackberry in Clarkridge AR
March 30, 2013 - Will my corn be inhibited by a nearby hackberry and if so would it help to cut it down? I understand that sometimes the soil is full of the chemicals the tree produces.
view the full question and answer

Shade tolerant plants for privacy from Larchmont NY
April 19, 2014 - Love your site! We have a 4'x4'x50' stone wall, full sun, with a planting bed 30"H by 24"D. We're looking for privacy, so a hedge with pruning is needed. We have looked at Ilex Crenata (8'),...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.