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

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

Shade ground cover under honeysuckle from Wichita KS
February 21, 2012 - Hi! I know this is a bit odd, but I am trying to find a nontoxic, good ground covering plant that can live in the shade while competing with the roots of a whole bunch of honeysuckle. I have a few ide...
view the full question and answer

Identification of plant with orange sap that glows at night
June 06, 2012 - I was just pulling up a plant and noticed that its sap was a kind of orange then I noticed it glowing orange at night. What kind of plant is this and is it dangerous?
view the full question and answer

Non-native, and/or invasive bermudagrass, St. Augustine and Pistache from Houston
September 24, 2012 - Our St. Augustine lawn died suddenly this summer from either chinch bugs or grub worms (or both?), and a multitude of weeds and native Bermuda have taken over the area. Now that the weather has cooled...
view the full question and answer

Non-native impatiens from Charlottesville VA
June 09, 2011 - Question about type of impatiens. My Alabama mother grew these and called them touch-me-not. They grow about 2 feet tall and blooms grow UNDER the leaf canopy up the stem. Colors I have are pale pink ...
view the full question and answer

Sprout from a non-native sago palm in Poinciana FL
October 16, 2013 - I have two mature (10 years old)sago palms. One of them sprouted a new "head' at the top of the trunk. It is competing with the original one. It is not a pup coming from the root area. Can I cut it ...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center