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

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

More Trees Questions

Fast-growing evergreens for privacy in Center, TX
March 30, 2010 - I live in East Texas and am looking for a fast growing evergreen for a privacy screen around my backyard. The area gets partial sun and the soil has a lot of clay in it.
view the full question and answer

Law against planting cottonwood in Madison WI
October 08, 2013 - I was told that there is an ordinance against planting cottonwood trees in Madison, WI. Is this true?
view the full question and answer

Tree to plant on rocky soil in San Antonio
March 10, 2012 - I want to plant a tree in a particular spot in the yard but after digging down 10 inches I hit solid rock. I filled the hole with water and it took hours for it to go down. It is one of the higher e...
view the full question and answer

Osage orange thorn in foot in Redford MO
June 01, 2010 - I ran an osage orange thorn through my foot,it is very sore and very red around it. Is that something I might need to see a dr about, or it is just going to be sore for a couple days. It only happened...
view the full question and answer

Removing a non-native windmill palm from Austin
February 27, 2013 - I have a fairly good size windmill palm (about 15ft high) that is planted too close to the house. I also don't like having to constantly remove its fronds as they block a walkway. Is there a good wa...
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