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

Friday - July 20, 2012

From: Washington, DC
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Plant Lists, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Small Yard Tree for Washington DC
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

What do you suggest for a tree or shrub in my front yard? The yard is small; 9 ft x 12 ft. Thank you.

ANSWER:

  That's a tough one, but mostly because you haven't told us much of the place or the yard, other than its size.

 I use the "Recommended Species" lists to make recommendations.  The link is to the recommended species for Washington DC.  These lists are sortable, so when I select  "6-12" and "12-36" feet high, that still gives me a list of 43 possible trees or shrubs for your place.

I'm imagining you would want something in the 10-20 ft range and maybe some colorful aspect in the leaves or fruit to give it a seasonal highlight.  My list follows, but you could select your own by sorting the recommended species and applying your own preferences:

Asimina triloba (Pawpaw)
Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)
Hydrangea arborescens (Wild hydrangea) would just fit nicely if you want a smaller shrub
Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)
Sumac family: Rhus glabra (Smooth sumac), Rhus copallinum (Winged sumac), Rhus aromatica (Fragrant sumac)
Rhododendron family:  Rhododendron prinophyllum (Early azalea), Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel), Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba rosebay), Rhododendron calendulaceum (Flame azalea)
Rhus typhina (Staghorn sumac)
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis (Common elderberry)
Viburnum rufidulum (Rusty blackhaw viburnum)

 

From the Image Gallery


Pawpaw
Asimina triloba

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Wax myrtle
Morella cerifera

Smooth sumac
Rhus glabra

Catawba rosebay
Rhododendron catawbiense

Staghorn sumac
Rhus typhina

Staghorn sumac
Rhus typhina

Common elderberry
Sambucus nigra ssp. canadensis

Rusty blackhaw viburnum
Viburnum rufidulum

More Trees Questions

Correction of tree name from Bay Point CA
October 16, 2013 - The tree should of been Mulberry don't know how it was changed!! Tuesday - October 15, 2013 From: Bay Point, CA Region: California Topic: Non-Natives, Cacti and Succulents, Trees Title: Non-...
view the full question and answer

Oak sprouts in flower bed in Colleyville TX
April 04, 2011 - We have a raised flower bed in our back yard that includes 2 live oak trees. We have a TON of shoots that keep popping up and make our bed look very untidy. My husband doesn't think the shoots are ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Mexican Monterrey Oak in Killeen, TX
September 02, 2009 - I planted a Mexican/Monterrey White Oak in September of 2008. It was about 10 ft tall and about 1 1/4 inches in diameter at the bottom. I kept it watered over the winter and spring and of course, ve...
view the full question and answer

Dying Bigelow oaks in Austin
July 30, 2010 - I have several stands of Bigelow Oak (Q.sinuata var. breviloba) in NW Austin mixed with Yaupon and Cedar Elms. Several have died each year for the past 8 years. Two now have brown, dry leaves which is...
view the full question and answer

Trees and wildflowers for Matagorda County, Texas
January 06, 2012 - My family has a fish farm in Palacios, Matagorda county. I would like to plant trees and wild flowers on the property. Can you suggest the appropriate kind that can withstand the salt water around an...
view the full question and answer

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