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

Are magnolia trees toxic for dogs?
February 05, 2014 - Del Mar, California- are magnolia trees, (their bark, roots, pods) toxic to small dogs? My Westie terriers are exhibiting lack of appetite and diarrea this late winter. Tonight I saw on our local n...
view the full question and answer

Problems with live oak in Carrollton TX
April 03, 2011 - This past winter was very hard on all the trees in our area in Texas, but added to our stress was the loss of three large Bradford pears just prior to the winter (23yrs old and over 50ft spans of limb...
view the full question and answer

Problems with water oaks from Laurel MS
October 05, 2013 - The leaves on my mature water oak trees have been falling since the leaves matured. My area has had an abundance of rain this year, 11 inches above normal. All the trees in my area are doing the same....
view the full question and answer

Sticky white substance from Arizona Ash tree in Arlington TX
June 11, 2009 - Our Arizona Ash Tree is producing a white substance that floats down from the tree almost like a snowflake the size of a bb. You cannot see it on the tree/leaves. When it lands on the car, it takes th...
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

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