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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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Sunday - April 01, 2012

From: Wichita, KS
Region: Midwest
Topic: Plant Lists, Trees
Title: Trees for home in Kansas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am needing help planting trees in my yard. It's a new construction home and I would like a tree that won't get into the septic system easily. Also, I have to plant 3 other trees as well due to the ordinance in the neighborhood. But I'm also looking for something that is unusual looking. All I see around in this area is Bradford Pear trees and Oklahoma Red Bud trees everywhere. Do you have any suggestions?

ANSWER:

Here are suggestions for trees for your yard.   The ones listed are not known to cause problems with septic systems, but you should read the recommendations about Landscaping Septic Systems from the University of Minnesota.  Trees to avoid near septic systems are poplars, cottonwoods, willows, maples and elms.  You can read a list of trees whose roots are known to invade septic systems and those that rarely do in Trees and Septics from The Morton Arboretum near Chicago, Illinois.

Here is a list of trees that are native to your area and are somewhat unusual:

Catalpa bignonioides (Southern catalpa) is a medium-sized tree growing to 25-40 feet.

Catalpa speciosa (Northern catalpa) is a larger tree (75-100 feet).

Diospyros virginiana (Common persimmon) can be a small tree (15 feet) in dry soil but a large tree (up to 100 feet) in moist soil.  It produces delicious fruit in the fall and spectacular fall foliage.

Nyssa sylvatica (Blackgum) is a medium-sized (30-60 feet) tree with beautiful red fall foliage.

Ostrya virginiana (Eastern hop-hornbeam) with unusual flowers, fruits and bark that grows 30-50 feet.

Prunus americana (American plum) is a small (up to 35 feet) tree with beautiful spring blooms and edible fruits.

Quercus palustris (Pin oak) grows 60-70 feet with graceful slender appearance and dark red fall foliage.

Sassafras albidum (Sassafras) is a medium-sized (35-50 feet) tree with outstanding fall foliage.

You can also visit our Kansas Recommended page and use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to limit the results by choosing "Tree" under General Appearance to see more possibilities.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern catalpa
Catalpa bignonioides

Northern catalpa
Catalpa speciosa

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Common persimmon
Diospyros virginiana

Blackgum
Nyssa sylvatica

Eastern hop-hornbeam
Ostrya virginiana

American plum
Prunus americana

Pin oak
Quercus palustris

Sassafras
Sassafras albidum

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