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
Not Yet Rated

Saturday - September 03, 2011

From: Newtown , PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Compost and Mulch, Shade Tolerant, Trees, Vines
Title: Stumps of fallen oaks in Hurricane Irene from Newton PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Two large red oaks fell in the woods in our yard in Newtown PA due to Hurricane Irene. The trees have been removed, but the stumps remain. Please can you recommend some fast-growing, attractive, native vines that we could plant to cover the unsightly stumps?

ANSWER:

Both Quercus coccinea (Scarlet oak) and Quercus rubra (Northern red oak) are referred to by the common name "red oak" and are native to Pennsylvania. It is really terrible that you lost such valuable trees. In the case of the exposed stumps, we would really prefer that it be taken out by a stump grinder, but contractors with that kind of equipment are probably going to be in short supply for a while. When a stump is ground, the large pieces of root can be removed, and the ground materials left to compost in the ground, preparing the soil for replanting in the Spring. A stump left to rot can provide a haven for insects and fungi in your garden.

You might have a while to consider these possibilities. Planting in Bucks County, in the southeastern tip of Pennsylvania, USDA Hardiness Zone 6b, should be postponed until warmer temperatures prevail in early Spring. In addition, vines in your area are all going to be deciduous, which means you won't have significant coverage in the Winter. Having said all that, we will go to our Native Plant Database and do a Combination Search for vines. Since you say these stumps are located in a wood, we will specify part shade for Light Requirements. If you follow each plant link to the page in our database, you can learn Growing Conditions, Propagation Instructions and soil types for that vine.

Campsis radicans (Trumpet creeper) - A high-climbing, aggressively colonizing woody vine to 35 ft., climbing or scrambling over everything in its path by aerial rootlets.

Lonicera sempervirens (Coral honeysuckle) - High-climbing, twining vine, 3-20 ft. long, with smooth, glossy, paired, semi-evergreen leaves and 2-4 flowered clusters of red, tubular blooms followed by bright-red berries.

Clematis ligusticifolia (Western white clematis)- A strong, woody or semi-woody climber to 20 ft. or more.

 

 

 

From the Image Gallery


Trumpet creeper
Campsis radicans

Western white clematis
Clematis ligusticifolia

Coral honeysuckle
Lonicera sempervirens

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Vines for shade in Central Texas
February 04, 2008 - We'd like to fill in our long expanse of yard fencing with climbing vines. We are limited by 40' live oaks that cut off the sun but surely something works in the shade and heat!
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for sun/part shade in Austin
May 07, 2008 - I live in Southwest Austin and I have a small backyard that has part sun/part shade. I have no grass in the backyard and my soil is not the healthiest, so I would like to plant some groundcover versus...
view the full question and answer

Lawn for a Shady & Wet area in Austin, TX
July 22, 2015 - We have a drainage area that has appeared in our back yard since the neighbors’ homes were built. When we get heavy rains (like this year) all their drainage flows into our back yard and forms a river...
view the full question and answer

Shade tree for horses in North Virginia
October 16, 2009 - I need to plant a shade tree for my horses and am considering a fast growing tree called an Empress Tree(paulownia). It would be outside of their fenced area but close enough to provide shade for the...
view the full question and answer

Plants for a shady spot in Illinois
April 16, 2010 - I live in a new development in Huntley, IL. I am looking for native trees, shrubs, plants and/or flowers to plant on the North side of my house. Fairly shaded. Hopefully something attractive and co...
view the full question and answer

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