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

Wednesday - March 14, 2012

From: Wichita, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Hardy Tree for Kansas
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I'm hoping to find a tree that is hardy and will survive all rough seasons in Wichita, KS. The spot is in front of a northern exposure window.

ANSWER:

I would think you have your best chance of a locally hardy tree by considering the native trees that have adapted to thrive in your area.

My way of going about a recommendation is to use the Recommended Species list for Kansas – Then narrow the search for partial shade [in front of a northern exposure window].  That gave me 19 candidates and I would encourage you to examine them yourself to see if any of them fit your fancy!

Just to cut down the list a bit more, I reviewed these candidates for just how far North into Canada they have been noted to grow. You can do that by looking at the USDA distribution maps on the link to their database. I would think that a tree that thrives in Alberta would be a great candidate for an exposed position in Kansas!  We all say there's only a couple strands of barbed wire between us and the Arctic, but those trees thrive.

So – Here is my list of “winners” for extended range to the North:

The widest range(most hardy)had populations in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in Central Canada.  These were Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash) and Quercus macrocarpa (Bur oak)

Nearly as well distributed were Prunus americana (American plum) [Saskatchewan & Manitoba], Acer saccharinum (Silver maple) in Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec and Celtis occidentalis (Common hackberry) in Manitoba and Quebec,

These trees are probably as hardy as you’ll find them.  Don’t forget to pamper them a bit when young and your choice will survive well for the long term!

 

From the Image Gallery


Green ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Green ash
Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Bur oak
Quercus macrocarpa

Silver maple
Acer saccharinum

Common hackberry
Celtis occidentalis

More Trees Questions

Leaves on Spanish oaks in Hays County TX dying
April 18, 2009 - I have many Spanish Oaks on my Hays County property. The leaves started blooming last week, but this week all the young leaves are brown and appear to be dying. This is happening to all the otherwise ...
view the full question and answer

Tropical looking plants for pool area in California
November 14, 2008 - I am looking for small tropical looking plants, groundcover, and 2-small trees for around my pool. They have to be non-toxic to dogs,cats, and people. They can't attract bees/wasps, or have a root ...
view the full question and answer

Plants under an oak tree from Corpus Christi TX
June 30, 2012 - My project: To grow white turk's cap under an old oak tree I first planted St. Augustine sod this spring because we had many oak suckers around the tree. We mixed new soil and compost, and laid the ...
view the full question and answer

What will grow under a magnolia in Houston?
May 21, 2010 - What will grow under a magnolia tree in Houston? The area is shade and partly sunny.
view the full question and answer

Thornless honeylocust trees for Taylor TX
September 21, 2009 - I live in Taylor, Williamson County, in central Texas and I am interested in selecting trees for my backyard. I can't really explain (it may be my Midwestern roots), but I would like to plant three t...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center