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

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
view the full question and answer

Watering oaks in Houston, TX.
June 07, 2011 - Our yard (Real County, TX.) has many oak trees. We never water these trees, but I wonder if you recommend watering during this extreme drought. The trees look very stressed and are covered in ball m...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing shade tree for Canyon Lake, TX
November 02, 2012 - What is the best, fastest growing shade tree to plant in a residential yard about 1/2 block from the Guadelupe River in Sattler, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Tree for St Paul MN
April 30, 2012 - Need deciduous faster growing shade tree, more taproot style (few/no surface bulging roots--had to cut down large silver maple), few/no fatal pests, tolerant of cold (MN), preferably able to take vari...
view the full question and answer

Oak Wilt in Georgetown, TX
November 17, 2014 - We have lost several live oaks to oak wilt. Another couple are dying but still have some green leaves. Is it OK to cut down these trees now or should we wait until they are entirely dead? I've heard ...
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