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

Thursday - December 29, 2011

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Need trees to screen view of parking garage in Houston, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We live in Houston, TX with a beautiful lot except a 4 story parking garage has been built behind us. How can we screen this and the lights out of site. It looks terrible from the second story especially. We are trying Eucalyptus trees but having problems with some of them. Thank you.

ANSWER:

You didn’t mention the type of Eucalyptus trees that you are trying, but Eucalyptus is a genus that is native to Australia. It was introduced into the US in California in the 1850’s and has been used by landscapers across the country. This previously answered question about growing Eucalyptus in Spring,Texas sort of sums up the Wildflower Center’s feeling about Eucalyptus in Houston. The answer contains some suggestions for alternative plants, but they all aren’t suitable for your current situation.

I will give you two suggestions to help you with selecting trees for your back yard.
The first is called the Texas Tree Planting Guide which is produced by the Texas Forest Service. This is an interactive website that will allow you to select trees based on your county, the size of the tree you want (both height and width), the overall shape of the tree, growth rate, etc. Using the Express Tree Selector and the Custom Tree Selector will give you a list of trees from which to choose.

Another source of information is the Houston Chapter of the Texas Native Plant Society.
Address: NPSOT-H, Box 131254, Houston, TX  77219-1254.
www.NPSOT.org/houston

One feature they have that I like is their NICE Program (Natives Instead of Common Exotics). See page 24.

The next stop would be our Native Plant Database. You can use the Recommended Species feature, or you can use the Database to check out the plants that you have selected from the lists that you compiled using the other sources. To look for Recommended Species, go to the Native Plants Database, and scroll down to the Recommended Species box. Click on “View Recommended Species Page” and select East Texas on the map. Go to the Narrow Your Search box and make the following selections: select Texas under State, tree under Habit, perennial under Lifespan, and 72 - 100 under Height. This will give you a list of six native species that meet these criteria. Clicking on the Scientific name of each species will bring up its NPIN page which gives characteristics of the plants, growth requirements, and in most cases photos.

To use the Database to check out the other plants on your lists, type in the Scientific name or common name of a plant in the space provided and click on the “go” button. If the plant  is a non-native however, it will not appear in the database.

Good luck with your selections.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Podocarpus macrophyllus in Ft Worth TX
November 12, 2011 - I know this question does not pertain to a native plant but I've spent too much time not finding an answer to my question. I have many mature Podocarpus macrophyllus bushes at my house I purchased in...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
June 17, 2012 - Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with ba...
view the full question and answer

a source for fruitless olive (non-native) trees
June 29, 2012 - I was given a "mexican olive" several years ago which is doing very well. This one is non-fruiting and I would like to have another that is non-fruiting but cannot find one. Cordia boissieri see...
view the full question and answer

Japanese lilac trees in Lehi UT
July 31, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We live in Utah and this past spring planted three Japanese Lilac Trees in the lawn next to the deck hoping they would one day provide some shade. They are planted in full sun ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native cannas in Sugar Land, TX
September 24, 2009 - I just planted some beautiful canna lilies along my fenceline (about 8 inches off the property line and 2 ft between each plant). My neighbor complained that they were going to go wild and sprout up o...
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