Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 - 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

Hedge in central Texas
June 17, 2009 - Help, my oleanders are dying. I am in need of hedge suggestions- ideal would be quick growing, maybe 8-12 feet at their tallest. I live in Central Texas.
view the full question and answer

Identification of mystery tree in Huntington Beach, CA
March 25, 2015 - Have a "tree" that has grown from about 18" tall to about 10' tall in a little over a years time. It has a central trunk that is about 3/4" in diameter at it's largest. It has short thin branch...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Trees in OH
May 10, 2012 - Is the middle of May too late to dig out Arborviteas and spruces to transplant? I live in central Ohio.
view the full question and answer

Why is my Texas mountain laurel growing so slowly?
July 22, 2015 - I have a Mountain Laurel, Anacacho Orchid Tree and Desert Willow on the northern side of our yard - all three get full sun most of the day. The Mountain Laurel is closer to the east side. The other...
view the full question and answer

Destructive landscape crews in The Woodlands TX
October 20, 2012 - Hi. We need help. We recently moved to a house where landscape crews have been blowing away the leaf litter from the front yard for many years. The underbrush was also cleared long ago. The result...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.