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?


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
1 rating

Sunday - July 24, 2011

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Trees
Title: Yard Trees for Burleson, TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


We need to replace 2 mature pear trees in our front yard, north side of the house in Burleson, TX. We are looking for faster growing trees that will last for decades that resist disease in clay soil. The area is roughly 30'x 50'. What is our best choice and is there a problem replanting where the pears are currently? The pears were so dense the grass has died back with lack of sun so we would like a less dense tree that will add curb appeal.


What Mr Smarty Plants likes to do is recommend that you check out the recommended species list for North Central Texas.  You can sort through the list- so you can select trees of the height you prefer and start to consider options.  I found 13 trees when I looked for those in the 36 to 72 ft. height.

Unfortunately, "faster-growing" and "last for decades" are slightly contradictory.  Some fast growing options are Acer negundo (Ash-leaf maple) and Ulmus crassifolia (Cedar elm)

Some Oaks also grow relatively fast.  Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak) and Quercus texana (Nuttall oak) are quite attractive, Quercus texana (Nuttall oak) may do better in your clay soil.  If you are willing to wait for your tree, magnificent varieties such as Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) and Carya illinoinensis (Pecan) do well in your region, but are probably a bit tall for a yard the size of yours. 

 Is there a problem planting them where the pears are currently?  Well, a little.  Are the pears still there?  If so, the roots will continue to compete for water for some time.  Make sure you remove the stumps and, if you can, you will want to start your new trees outside of their existing dripline, just to minimize the competition.  Similarly, you noted you want a less dense tree with better curb appeal.  All of those recommended above will produce a very attractive tree.  You can improve density and curb appeal by judicious pruning and raising the canopy when it is mature enough.


From the Image Gallery

Ash-leaf maple
Acer negundo

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

More Planting Questions

Foundation plants for Albuquerque.
July 01, 2012 - Hello, I live in Albuquerque. I am looking for some native/xeric low water usage plants for foundation plants for my home. They will be foundation plants for a two story home that has a large ponde...
view the full question and answer

Need help with my Mountain Laurel in Sugarland, TX
June 22, 2011 - Texas Mountain Laurel - My plant's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I don't know if this is caused from over watering or under watering. I have skipped days of watering to see if it will h...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Prospects for newly-seeded Habiturf lawn from Round Rock TX
March 17, 2012 - Re: Habiturf installation Can you provide feedback about how my newly seeded Habiturf lawn should look at various stages? I think I prepped the lawn properly, but I may have planted too early (...
view the full question and answer

Growing Evergreen sumac in clay soil of Texas
August 19, 2011 - I'm in need of a fast growing evergreen screening shrub/small tree. I'm considering the Evergreen Sumac but before I go further I need to know if this plant will thrive and remain evergreen in the D...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center