En Español

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

Viability of Desert Willow in clay soil in Fredericksburg, TX
November 25, 2005 - I have recently purchased a house in a new subdivision in Fredericksburg, TX. The lot was not landscaped. I have a small lot (85 X 135), my back yard is about 50 X 85. The soil is a heavy clay. I am c...
view the full question and answer

City tree ordinance information
January 10, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am writing to you in regards to city tree ordinances. I am a citizen of Grand Prairie, TX. and although the city is a Tree City, the city does not have a tree ordinance. T...
view the full question and answer

Rock under space for Bigtooth Maple in San Antonio
May 20, 2013 - I just got a 10 gallon Bigtooth Maple in Medina TX for my home outside loop 1604 in San Antonio. I hit rock about 7 inches in when trying to plant it..I am entertaining the idea for a raised bed to le...
view the full question and answer

Need information about oak wilt and Shumard oak in Houston, Tx.
July 06, 2010 - I want to plant a Shumard red oak in my North Houston front yard, with two Nuttall oaks. I keep hearing about something call oak wilt. Is there something I can do to prevent this disease during the ...
view the full question and answer

Need to find an alternative to Bradford Pear in the Woodlands, TX
September 18, 2011 - Hello! I am trying to find an alternative tree to a Bradford Pear. I love the seasonal change in these and ordered one, but after the many negative reviews I've read (smell, weakness in branches, mes...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center