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

How to prune my Linden tree?
June 17, 2009 - We have a 15 yr old Linden in the backyard. North side of home. It can use some pruning at the lower branches. Which branches do we prune and when? Also we have some river birches back there. Oth...
view the full question and answer

Madrones in Michigan?
November 01, 2010 - Will a Arbutus menziesii (Pursh Pacific madrone) grow in Huron County Michigan? I'm at the "tip of Michigan's thumb".
view the full question and answer

How to tell the girls from the boys in wax myrtles (Morella cerifera)
May 14, 2010 - How would I be able to identify whether my wax myrtles are male or female plants? I was given two plants last fall (that came from a family members back yard) and the person who gave them to me didn'...
view the full question and answer

Possible wilt disease in mountain laurels
August 31, 2006 - Three of about 24 of my mature mountain laurels died suddenly, the leaves turned brown almost overnight, scratching the bark revealed no green tissue, the small branches practically cracked when bent,...
view the full question and answer

Trees with non-invasive roots for California
March 30, 2009 - My family is currently in the process of redoing our entire yard. A huge task I might add! We had fruitless mulberries planted and one Modesto Ash. As much as we loved them we are hating their roots. ...
view the full question and answer

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