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

Monday - July 16, 2012

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Need a shade tree for front yard in Fredricksburg, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Fredericksburg, Tx. I have a large front yard, but only one huge pecan tree in the front yard that is probably 18 years old. It shades half the yard. I want to plant another shade tree for the other half of my yard.a tree that does not produce fruit, is heat tollerant and spreads out wide for shade. Is this what they refer to as mushroom crown tree? What do you suggest I plant? Watering the tree is not a problem.

ANSWER:

Producing fruit is what most trees do, unless of course  you have a staminate (male) tree of a dioecious species. Otherwise, you need to select a tree with small, un-obnoxious fruit.

This article from the US Forest Service talks about the shapes of trees (scroll down to “Characteristic Shapes of Trees” about 3/4 of the way to the end). Your new tree could have a mushroom shaped crown, but that will be influenced by its interaction with the pecan tree.

For tree selection, I’m going to recommend the Texas Tree Planting Guide. This is an interactive web site from the Texas Forest Service that helps you pick trees based on your location, size of tree you want, and growing conditions. The simplest path is to use the “Express Tree Selector”. Answer the two questions , click on “view the best trees to plant” and you will get four reasonable choices. Check on the sizes and growth requirements to see which tree is best for you. By changing your search parameters, or using the "Custom Tree Selector", you can get other recommendations.

Here is a link to a previous answer that can also prove helpful.

 

More Trees Questions

Distance apart to plant oaks in Denton TX
August 26, 2009 - How far apart should I plant Pin Oaks and Shumard Red Oaks in our yard? All around us are native oaks, but our backyard has none. I want to create a "forest" that looks like they are native, but n...
view the full question and answer

Alternatives to tuliptree and red maple in Central Texas
August 03, 2007 - I live in southwest Austin, TX, nearby a creek. The soil is very heavy with clay. I've been perusing web sites for trees, and we like the "Summer Red Maple" and "Tulip Poplar" trees very much, m...
view the full question and answer

Brownish haze on live oak leaves in Austin, TX.
October 09, 2009 - My live oak tree leaves are getting a brownish "haze" on them, almost as if they have been spray painted (lightly) with brown paint. I did use the oak wilt identifier and that is not at all what it ...
view the full question and answer

Roots in mulch around Live Oak in Austin
March 10, 2011 - I have a 20 yr old Live Oak that has about 6-8 inches of mulch buildup around the base (I had landscaped around it). I went to break up the mulch to remove it from the base of the tree, but found it ...
view the full question and answer

Plant barrier along fence in South Central Texas
March 10, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I want to put in an attractive, diverse but tough plant barrier to help stop my dogs from running the fence with neighboring dogs. The 5-foot, open-wire fence is far from the...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center