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

Friday - February 10, 2012

From: Dale , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Herbs/Forbs, Trees
Title: Plants for north side from Dale TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

What native trees and bushes can I plant on the north side of house? Can I use corn meal( I NEED FIGHT A GRASS) in flowerbed and then plant native wildlife seeds(FLOWERS)?

ANSWER:

To begin with, it's not as important to know which direction your garden faces as how much sun it gets. Frequently, the north side is the shady side. You can help yourself decide what kind of plants fit in a certain area by mapping your property on paper, and then checking several times of day to see what sun is in what areas. We consider "sun" to be 6 hours of sun or more a day, "part shade" 2 to 6 hours, and "shade" 2 hours or less of sun. Then, you can go to our Recommended Species section, and select Central Texas on the map. This will give you a list of 156 plants that should be suitable for Caldwell County. Using the NARROW YOUR SEARCH function. select on "Habit" or General Appearance, for herbs (herbaceous blooming flowers), trees, shrubs, whatever you are interested in researching. Select a light requirement, and the moisture of your soil under ordinarily circumstances. You can also select on "Duration" (annual or perennial), height, bloom time or bloom color. Of course, each specification will narrow the number of selections you get.

For example, we'll look first for trees. Using the above method and selecting on "trees," "part shade," and "dry soil" you will get a list of 21 trees that fit those specifications. Follow the plant links to any of them to find out their growing conditions, etc. We chose to look  Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud),and learned that it grows 10-20 ft. tall, blooms pink or purple from March to April and tolerates dry and alkaline soils. You repeat this method to select the other types of plants you are interested in. We do want to mention that you should be sure any tree you pick will fit into the space when it is mature, including the roots! You can plant a small tree and find yourself with it growing into and under your house, not good for the house or the tree.

On to the use of corn gluten. We don't know what grasses you are trying to get rid of, but if it non-native bermudagrass, you should know it is one of the most invasive weeds in the South, and not easy to get rid of. We have no personal experience of corn gluten as a herbicide, but here is an article from the University of Minnesota on Corn Gluten Meal: A Natural Pre-Emergence Herbicide that could give you some leads.

Finally, on the wildflowers-there are no seed mixes that can be sprinkled on and expect to have a wildflower garden. We suggest you read our How-To Article on Getting Started with Wildflower Gardening to help you get going. You can select the flowers as we did in the instructions above, and then check them out on their webpages. In our Special Collections, we have a list of 31 Wildflowers of Central Texas.

 

 

More Trees Questions

Live oaks lifting up sidewalks in Palm Coast FL
December 12, 2013 - My live oak trees roots are lifting up my side walks. Can I cut just the roots that are causing the problem without hurting the trees? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Non native crape myrtle changing bloom colors in Sonora CA
September 05, 2012 - I have a Red Rocket Crape Myrtle that was planted a little over a year ago. Last year the bloom was a beautiful deep red and this year it is a Mauvie pink. Is there something I can do to bring it back...
view the full question and answer

Watering a Chinquapin Oak in Austin, TX
June 22, 2014 - I have a question about watering. I planted a Chinquapin Oak about 7 months ago and it's about 8 feet tall and doing well. I water it weekly on a slow drip for about an hour. I expect that my job is ...
view the full question and answer

Propagating magnolias from Springtown TX
July 07, 2011 - I am trying to find out how to plant Magnolia tree seeds and what has to be done with them prior to planting, if anything and what type of soil to use.
view the full question and answer

Manor, TX in Blackland Prairie ecoregion
June 27, 2006 - Hi, I am planning an event for my community in Shadowglen and Manor, TX so my neighbors can learn about using native plants in the landscape to create healthier habitat for wildlife and be more respon...
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