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

When is the appropriate time to prune pecan trees in Hewitt?
September 07, 2008 - Labor Day Weekend my husband decided to trim all the low branches on a big pecan tree in our back yard which I thought should had been done at the first of the year, our temprature is in the mid 90's...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for inland San Diego, California
November 28, 2009 - I'm looking for an evergreen tree for my inland San Diego residence, 30 foot max height, growth speed is not important. I had decided on the carrotwood until I found your site and discovered the prob...
view the full question and answer

Failure to bud out of Shumard oaks in Floresville TX
April 16, 2010 - Question: I have a Shumard red oak (9-10ft tall) that I planted last October as its leaves were turning a brilliant red color. However, it's the only tree that did not bud this spring. I scraped t...
view the full question and answer

Abundance of acorns from Wimberley TX
November 22, 2013 - We have lived in Wimberley since 1999 and this is the first time we have had such a huge abundance of acorns on our Oak trees, which is surprising considering the drought we have been in the last few ...
view the full question and answer

Is western soapberry (Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii) dioecious?
February 15, 2008 - Hi! I found different information on the flowering habits of the western soapberry, Sapindus saponaria var. drummondii. Is it dioecious or polygamo-dioecious or none of them? I have some little seed...
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