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
2 ratings

Tuesday - May 10, 2011

From: Burnet, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Low water use tree to shade pond in Burnet TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm in need of some shade at a 1/2 acre pond, but I don't want a tree to consume so much water that it will lower the water level. During droughts the little pond needs all the water it can get. Someone said that bald cypress trees would use alot of water and lower the level. What are your thoughts?

ANSWER:

The first thing we did was look at our webpage on Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress) to see what it said. You can follow the link and do the same. On that page, it was noted that the tree has medium water demands, can grow in sun or part shade, and likes moist soil but can adapt to semi-dry conditions. Apparently one of the advantages of this tree is that it can survive and even flourish in an area which has periodic flooding and then dry spells.

Having found out what benefits the tree, we still could not get any concrete information on how the tree affected neighboring water features, so we next went to the Internet to see if we might find some indications on that subject. From a USDA Forest Service article on the Bald Cypress, we picked up on this quotation:

"Riverine swamps of baldcypress cause floodwaters to spread out, slow down, and infiltrate the soil. Thus, these stands reduce damage from floods and act as sediment and pollutant traps."

You should read this whole article and see if it gives you any indicators that we missed. Our take on the quotation was that it would be beneficial to have this tree in an area that can get periodically flooded and then lose a great deal of water as it washes away, which would seem to justify the tree as a water retention tool.

By going to the bottom of our webpage on this tree, you can find a link to Google on it; we did this and found several other articles about the tree, all recommending it as a very good tree, but slow-growing, that could get very large and very old. Nowhere did we find any indication that it would slurp the water away from the pond. Of course, it needs water, all plants do, but if it is growing in its natural habitat, then it is adapted to that habitat, and probably won't harm it. We do want to remind you that this is not a good time to be planting trees in Central Texas. Late Fall or Winter would be much better. A tree planted now, in the heat and drought we are experiencing, could very well be a victim of transplant shock, and either die or have its growth severely inhibited.

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Taxodium distichum


Taxodium distichum


Taxodium distichum


Taxodium distichum

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Stream Bank Erosion Control for Bryan/College Station
August 16, 2012 - I live in the Bryan/College Station area and need a ground cover to abate erosion on the bank of an intermittent stream. The bank is shaded. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for shady yard in Austin
September 04, 2011 - I was looking at your research on native grasses to be used in a yard. I want to plant your native mix of seeds, but worry that there is too much shade in my yard. I live in central Austin and wante...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees for horses in Merced, CA
January 21, 2011 - I would like to plant some trees to provide shade for horses in the pasture. What native trees are drought resistant (water may be spotty in the summer) yet safe for the animals? I live in the Calif...
view the full question and answer

Native shrub for shade in New Braunfels, Texas
July 26, 2010 - Recently moved to New Braunfels and purchased a house whose backyard consists of giant oaks. Unfortunately there is a chain link fence along the back of the property. I would like to plant a native f...
view the full question and answer

Plants for shade in New Jersey
September 21, 2008 - hi ,i live in rahway nj and i was wondering what are good plant and shrubs to plant for this area. we are doing all new landscaping and we have alot of shade areas. we like the ornamental grasses but ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center