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
1 rating

Thursday - September 20, 2012

From: Spring, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Heat tolerant arborvitae for Spring TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Is there an arborvitae that would be heat-tolerant to Spring, Texas (north of Houston) and amenable to neutral clay soil?

ANSWER:

There are two members of the genus Thuja (arborvitae) native to the Northeast and Northwest U. S.,  Alaska and Canada: Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae) and Thuja plicata (Western arborvitae). If you follow the plant links to our webpages on these plants, you will see that both need cool temperatures and moist soil.  See the USDA Plant Profile Map on Thuja occidentalis as well as the map on Thuja plicata. You will note that Texas shows up on neither map, and we discovered that only 3 counties in far northwest California are included.

Spring TX, is in Harris County, and is in USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 10. These arborvitae are considered hardy in Zones 5-8; however, on our webpage for Thuja occidentalis (Arborvitae) this sentence, "The species tolerates air pollution and heat as long as it is rooted in cool, moist soil." gives some hope that it might, just might be possible. We have no doubt that large commercial nurseries and home improvement stores will have one or both of these trees for sale, so if you're game, there is no reason why you shouldn't try it. We know that these trees make beautiful hedges but if they can't survive in your environment, they are just compost.  If you go to the webpage on either plant, scroll down to "Additional Resources" at the bottom of the page and follow the Google link to more information. This is your decision.

 

More Trees Questions

Thorny plant for fenceline security
December 23, 2009 - What kind of thorny plant or vine would you suggest to place along a fence for security purposes
view the full question and answer

Native, non-invasive plants for Canaan Valley, WV
April 23, 2006 - I recently purchased a home on an acre of land in the middle of Canaan Valley, WV. The front yard is flat and sunny, the back is on a ridge and is a little forest with a creek at the bottom. The tre...
view the full question and answer

Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
May 30, 2008 - Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin. I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?
view the full question and answer

Pecan tree dropping dead leaves
August 02, 2014 - I have a very old, tall pecan tree in my yard that has been dropping dead leaves for the last three weeks. My back yard looks like it is the Fall season. Do you have any insight on this?
view the full question and answer

Are palm tree seeds toxic?
July 08, 2011 - Are palm tree seeds toxic to other plants? I have palm trees around my pool and it seems that nothing will grow very good where the old seeds are in the ground.
view the full question and answer

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