En Español

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 Trees Questions

Distance for Escarpment oak to house from Lewisville TX
August 22, 2010 - I am planting an Escarpment Live Oak about 15' from my house. Thats as far away as I can plant it. Will this be a safe distance? How large will it be in 20 years?
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plants for a windbreak
June 13, 2008 - Our church has need to plant a windbreak. We would like fast growing native plants, preferably evergreen or really early 'leafers' to protect us from our windy season beginning in mid/late February....
view the full question and answer

Problems with volunteer tree in Joshua TX
February 15, 2012 - I have a 'volunteer' tree which has been in our back yard for about 15 years. It has had the usual traumas, ie. lots of snow, ice, etc. but after last years drought, its bark is coming off and sev...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen plant to grow to 6 feet tall with flowers and non-toxic
November 04, 2013 - I live in South Texas, and in town. I am looking for plant that grows taller than 6 feet and is non toxic to people and pets. Would also like for it to be pest and disease free or minimal. Need it ...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry Transplant shock symptoms
July 21, 2006 - Please suggest a cause & cure for general yellowing of the leaves of Western Soapberry when planted in the ground 20 miles NW of Austin (thin, poor clay over limestone). Trees still in containers are...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center