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?


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

Wednesday - August 16, 2006

From: Providence Village, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Survivability of birch trees in Texas
Answered by: Joe Marcus


Is it known whether Gray birch (Betula populifolia Marsh) will grow in North Texas? It seems like the only birch variety which might - and how short is a "short lifespan" for a tree?


You will find references that state that Gray birch might perform in northern Texas, particularly in the panhandle region of the state. However, it is usually better to find native alternatives that are adapted to your area. Even if you can find Gray birch locally, its chances of success in North Texas' demanding summer conditions are iffy at best.

River birch, Betula nigra is the only birch known to be native to Texas where it is common along rivers and streams in the eastern part of the state. If you have an area with good soil moisture, this species might work for you.

The term "short-lived", when applied to a tree usually means the tree can be expected to die or develop problems serious enough to necessitate its removal within 20 to 50 years.

More Trees Questions

Is yellow tulip poplar alive from Gilbertsville PA
March 30, 2013 - How can I tell if my yellow tulip poplar is alive? thank you
view the full question and answer

Clicking heard under an Oak in near Bandera, TX
May 06, 2014 - Hi, I live on a ranch in TX outside of Bandera. We're covered with live oaks, spanish oak and cedar. Last week,as I stood under an oak, I heard a constant fairly loud clicking sound under and around ...
view the full question and answer

Is the orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) poisonous to dogs?
September 26, 2008 - is the orchid tree (bauhinia) poisonous to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Selection of a small variety of Desert Willow for SE Texas
August 02, 2011 - Looking to plant desert willow as shrub. Any helpful tips to keep height down and plant full or bushy.
view the full question and answer

Thoughts on non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
January 01, 2014 - I would like to know your thoughts on growing Italian Cypress trees in Austin Texas? We are looking to create a privacy screen(and prepared to pay more for mature trees to cut down the wait to grow...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center