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?


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


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.


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

Demise of Flameleaf Sumac in Austin, TX.
July 31, 2012 - My Flameleaf Sumac suddenly died. Beetles came out around the trunk when I cut it down. How can I prevent this on the other sumac?
view the full question and answer

Repairing Previous Silver Maple Pruning Damage
May 09, 2015 - I cut a limb off my silver maple wrong and now the trunk is developing a hole. What is the best treatment?
view the full question and answer

Plants for a school garden in College Station TX
July 20, 2011 - I need to plant some things in my school garden. Green plants and plants with some color. Hardly ever rains here. Please give suggestions.
view the full question and answer

Source for Ashe Juniper seeds from Blanco Co., TX
March 10, 2014 - I'm trying to find Ashe Juniper seeds to plant in bare areas of my property in central Texas. I understand they grow well in rockier soil and have many other benefits for native animal species. Unfo...
view the full question and answer

Source for Hickory in Texas
March 25, 2015 - I'm looking for a nursery in Texas that sells hickory trees. I've used your supplier links and gone through many, many websites of suppliers. However, the only nut tree anyone sells is pecan. I'...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center