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
4 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

Tentative identification of non-native Senecio rowleyanus
April 19, 2008 - I am trying to track down a plant that I used to have but do not know what it is called. It grew in long strings of "pea like" balls. When planted in a hanging pot, the stringy "pea" like vines ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native yellow lantana from Elgin TX
June 17, 2012 - Why do my yellow lantana buds turn brown and do not open fully? The sprinkler system does not spray onto the lantana.
view the full question and answer

Non-native weeping willow losing leaves
June 03, 2008 - We have a willow tree (weeping), which sprung up naturally about 12 years ago. It has done very well until this summer. After its bloom in late March, it is losing its leaves again..turning yellow and...
view the full question and answer

Identity of mint impersonator in California
May 20, 2012 - Is there such a thing as a mint "impersonator"? There are random 'sprigs' of purple-stemmed, bright green leaf plants in my front yard. We just moved in to the house and I don't want to assume ...
view the full question and answer

Sticky leaves on non-native weeping willow
August 03, 2008 - Our weeping willow trees look healthy but have sticky leaves that attach to everything. They sparkle/shine from this very sticky mess. They are watered regularly, are they getting too much water? ...
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