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
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - July 10, 2011

From: Elmhurst, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Need to replace a Silver Maple in Illinois.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

My father recently had a tornado take out a 50 year old silver maple. He is looking to replace it, but he is looking for something with interesting summer color; as he put it not "green." I am trying to encourage him to find something native before he gravitates towards a Japanese maple, do you have any suggestions? He is in Northeast Illinois, full sun, moist soil.

ANSWER:

Well, here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are all about encouraging the use of native plants. To that end, let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database  that can help with finding plants for particular situations. One way of using the Database is to scroll down to the Combination Search Box and make the following selections: Select Illinois under State, Tree under Habit, and Perennial under Duration. Check Sun under Light requirement, Moist under Soil moisture, and then click the Submit combination search Button. This will bring up a list of 92 native species that are suitable for landscapes in Illinois. As you go through the list, clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the characteristics of the tree, its growth requirements, and photos. With this information, he can select plants that are suitable for his location. Using our Suppliers Directory can help locate businesses that sell the plants that he has selected.

Now admittedly, most of these trees have green leaves in the Summer, but if your father can hold out until the Fall, some of these trees make a spectacular showing.

 

From the Image Gallery


Red maple
Acer rubrum

Sugar maple
Acer saccharum

White ash
Fraxinus americana

Blackgum
Nyssa sylvatica

Pin oak
Quercus palustris

Sassafras
Sassafras albidum

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

More Trees Questions

Failure to thrive of Eastern Redbud in Dearborn, MI
May 26, 2009 - Our Eastern Redbud, multi-stem tree has done well for several years. This year the pods did not fall off, the tree looks anemic, lots of dead stems, no pink blooms this spring. What can we do??
view the full question and answer

Viability of Cupressus macrocarpa in Arvada, Colorado
October 06, 2008 - Can I plant lemon cypress in Arvada CO, zone 5, as landscaping plant? Can't find zone information.
view the full question and answer

Problems with live oak in Carrollton TX
April 03, 2011 - This past winter was very hard on all the trees in our area in Texas, but added to our stress was the loss of three large Bradford pears just prior to the winter (23yrs old and over 50ft spans of limb...
view the full question and answer

Tree that successfully treats psoriasis
January 31, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty plants,I have a rather unusual question. Do you know of a tree/plant that you can grow in a container, looks like a conifer/evergreen, is green, has wispy looking branches, but when t...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants in Central Texas
December 14, 2008 - I would like to plant a living fence around my property in central Texas. What trees/plants will survive the Texas weather best without taking years to provide visual shield?
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