En Espa—ol

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

Treating cuts in tree trunks
November 21, 2009 - We have two young trees that deer made bad cuts in the trunks. What can we put on cuts to keep bugs and disease from getting in them.? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Is December a good time to prune oaks in Central Texas?
December 29, 2010 - Given that we haven't had much cold weather here in central Texas (Wimberley) this season, is it a good time to trim live and Spanish oak trees (damaged limbs and low hanging branches and suckers)? ...
view the full question and answer

Container plant to grow in late afternoon sun
July 02, 2011 - I have a shaded brick walkway that leads to my front door. It faces west, and can get very hot late afternoon Houston sun, although it is shaded for the remainder of the day. I have been successful ...
view the full question and answer

Privacy Trees for New Jersey
March 02, 2011 - My neighbor elevated a row of white pine between our houses at least 20 feet high leaving me with NO privacy and a row of ugly lollipops. What trees can I plant that will be fast growing and deer resi...
view the full question and answer

Suckers from Oak Tree Roots in Austin
May 17, 2013 - Hi. I am a home owner in Austin TX with several live oak trees. We love them and want to keep them healthy. We have a nice landscape in the back yard and Iím wondering if you can answer a quest...
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