En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - April 16, 2012

From: Katy, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Small trees for property edge in Katy TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

By deed restriction, I must have five trees on the side of my small suburban lot just west of Houston, TX. Due to the lot layout, the trunks are only about 8-10 feet from the house, with the trees about 15 feet from each other. I get concerned about the trees, both due to branches hanging over the roof, and potential for the roots to grow under the foundation. Would trees with a smaller radius canopy be of use in this situation? If so, do you have any recommendations for this area of the country?

ANSWER:

Indeed, you are very wise to be making those considerations. We will provide you with a list of small trees and/or shrubs that can be trained into small trees. They will provide a privacy screen or line, as required in your deed restrictions, but not cause trouble for your foundation or roof. If the restrictions allow it, we recommend that you wait until Winter to plant your trees. Trees planted in the heat of summer often succumb to transplant shock, which kills more trees than just about any disease. If you have no choice but to plant the trees now, do it as soon as possible. Planting early in the morning or late in the day will cut down on the heat and sun shock. Make sure the hole is well-prepared and mix in some good-quality shredded bark compost to provide for adequate drainage. Do not fertilize. Native plants, which is all we recommend, need no fertilizer and adding fertilizer to tree roots in shock, which newly-planted trees in Summer will be, can only add to their problems. Water by sticking a hose down in the soil around the tree, allowing the hose to drip very slowly until water appears on the surface. If it is not raining, do this about twice a week while it is so hot. Even if you plant them in Winter, the new roots will still need that gentle trickle of water, just not so often.

We would like to direct you to our Recommended Species for the Gulf Marshes and Prairies of Texas. Please read the paragraph at the top of that page to understand the soils you have and the need for correct drainage. We are going to use the sidebar on the right-hand side of that page to select on trees, and also to specify a mature size range. You can go through the same procedure and select plants that better suit you for your purpose. We have checked each of these to make sure they will grow in your area. Follow each plant link to learn about its height, blooms, water and sunlight needs, etc.

Small Trees for Katy TX:

Aesculus pavia var. pavia (Scarlet buckeye)

Cornus drummondii (Roughleaf dogwood)

Halesia diptera (Two-wing silverbell)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Prunus mexicana (Mexican plum)

Viburnum rufidulum (Rusty blackhaw viburnum)

 

From the Image Gallery


Scarlet buckeye
Aesculus pavia var. pavia

Roughleaf dogwood
Cornus drummondii

Two-wing silverbell
Halesia diptera

American holly
Ilex opaca

Mexican plum
Prunus mexicana

Rusty blackhaw viburnum
Viburnum rufidulum

More Trees Questions

Food Allergy to Beautyberry or Persimmon?
October 22, 2015 - I think I might have a food allergy to Beautyberry or American Persimmon, eaten Saturday at the North Carolina Great Dismal park. These were the only strange foods recently, though I've had persimmo...
view the full question and answer

Privacy screen for Sedona AZ
August 02, 2013 - I live In Sedona Az. A builder just built a house next to my house and the new house is ugly to look at. What plant or tree would grow fast and reach 18 foot in height fast. It can be about 5 to 6 foo...
view the full question and answer

Growth rate of Thuja occidentalis
January 31, 2011 - What is the growth rate of thuja occidentalis? I have found web sites and books claiming slow to fast.
view the full question and answer

Newly planted nuttall oaks from Houston TX
November 16, 2012 - I recently purchased two Nuttall Oak Trees in Houston Texas (October). They are both 15' or taller. I planted them within 24 hours of being delivered, watered them in, staked them, and within 3-4 d...
view the full question and answer

Flowering and fruting of Texas wild plums and where they grow
November 28, 2006 - Could you please tell me about Texas wild plum trees—when they flower, when they bear fruit and where they grow.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center