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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Tuesday - February 07, 2012

From: Driftwood, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Trees
Title: Trees to replace live oaks in Driftwood TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for ideas on what trees to plant in Driftwood, TX to replace live oaks that have been lost to oak wilt.

ANSWER:

For openers, you sure don't want any more oaks. There are some species of oak that are not as susceptible to Oak Wilt  as live oaks, but they all can be killed by it. There are no doubt still areas of infection in your neighborhood, perhaps already dying trees that are waiting for nitulidid beetle to come drink of their infected sap and then carry the virus somewhere else. And one of the scariest ways that Oak Wilt spreads is via underground roots.

We want to make special note that if you are going to plant trees or any woody plant, you do it right away or wait until December. Some trees are already emerging from dormancy because of the rain and warm weather we have been having in Central Texas. Planting at the wrong time is a leading cause of transplant shock, which is a leading cause of tree death.

The second caution is that you choose only trees native to this area. This is important because a tree that has not evolved in our strange and changeable environment will not be able to cope with it or, worse, will be too able to cope with it and become invasive, crowding out the natives that belong here. Don't, please, buy and plant any tree that has "China" or "Chinese" in its name, like Chinest Pistache, Chinese Tallow or Chinaberry. These are all not only non-native, but very invasive. We will help you find trees native to Hays County; you can follow each plant link to our webpage on that tree and learn what kind of light and water requirements it has.

We'll begin with going to our Recommended Species page, clicking on Central Texas and then, using the "Narrow Your Search" function, search for "trees" under Habit or General Appearance. Each tree we suggest, we will check to see if it is growing in Hays County. You can do that for yourself on any plant by going to the bottom of our webpage under ADDITIONAL RESOURCES and click on Search for (plant name) in USDA Plants. We searched on Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud), by doing that. The first map showed Texas as green, which means it grows in Texas (duh!). When you click on the green state you get a map of the state with counties marked on it; again, the tree grows natively in the green counties. Here is the USDA Plant Profile map for the Texas redbud, and sure enough, it grows in Hays County. In that same location, you can click on a link that will take you to information on the plant from Google. We have selected both large and small trees. If you want a larger selection, you can go to our Native Plant Database, again choosing "Tree" and looking at the USDA Plant Profile on any you are interested in. Also, if you find that a tree you want is not shown as being in Hays County, but somewhere close, like Travis County, you would very likely be safe in choosing that one.

Trees native to Hays County:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Cotinus obovatus (American smoke tree)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

Taxodium distichum (Bald cypress)

 

From the Image Gallery


Texas redbud
Cercis canadensis var. texensis

American smoke tree
Cotinus obovatus

American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

Honey mesquite
Prosopis glandulosa

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Bald cypress
Taxodium distichum

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