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
2 ratings

Thursday - June 15, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fast growing native trees for Austin
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

What are your suggestions for a fast growing native tree that will do well in the clay soils of North Central Austin? I just had a 30 foot hackberry tree fall and would like to restore some shade to my backyard. I am not able to dig a very large hole to plant the tree, so would like to find a tree that either grows fast or has a smaller root ball so I can plant it. Would also like one that provides good shade without killing St. Augustine grass under the canopy.

ANSWER:

Four relatively fast-growing, clay-adapted trees native to your area are:

Texas Ash (Fraxinus albicans)
Escarpment Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia)

Of these, the ash was mentioned most often as being relatively fast-growing in the books I looked at. The oaks would cast denser shade than the others, but I've seen St. Augustine growing right up to the trunks of live oaks so that might not be a problem. All should be available at local nurseries.

 

More Trees Questions

Oak Bark Loss in Arlington, TX
May 04, 2013 - I have multiple oak trees in my yard (in north texas) that have begun to lose their bark in small chunks. I'm in the middle of the city so their are no deer and yes it's been a dry 2 years but this...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Mystery tree with yellow fruit in MN
November 12, 2012 - There is a tree at my workplace, about 8' tall, with small, pea-sized yellow berries right now (Oct. 2012). The berries are attractive to Cedar Waxwings, and the tree has small leaves that are simple...
view the full question and answer

Thorn bushes for a fence in Puerto Rico
November 17, 2015 - I'm looking for thorn bushes that grow in Puerto Rico. Want to use as fence to keep wild life in. Thanks, at least 5 ft tall so dogs can't get out.
view the full question and answer

Will Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry) be toxic to chickens?
July 25, 2010 - We are considering planting Carolina Cherry Laurels around our yard for dense hedging purposes. We are concerned because we have a small flock of free-ranging chickens who eat every seed and leaf in ...
view the full question and answer

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