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

Saturday - November 03, 2012

From: Georgetown, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Replacements for Ashe Junipers in Georgetown, TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We have cut down several cedar trees on our property in Williamson County Texas. We would like to replace the cedar trees with another variety of tree. Do you have recommendations for what type of tree might work best? I have heard that the soil beneath a cedar tree, even one that has been cut, is not appropriate for planting anything.

ANSWER:

The so-called cedar tree in Central Texas is actually not Thuja plicata (Western red cedar) nor Thuja occidentalis (Northern white cedar), neither of which is native to Texas, but most likely Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) which is native to Williamson County. All members of the same family, Cupressaceae; it is just more a question of where they are native.

In terms of soil beneath a "cedar" tree being inhospitable to other plants, have you not ever heard of Salvia roemeriana (Cedar sage)? In fact, if you follow this plant link Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper) to our webpage on that plant, you will find this paragraph:

"The uniquely rich and well-draining soil that builds up as juniper leaves fall and decompose is ideal for several native plants, some of which tend to occur almost exclusively in association with it, including Cedar Sage (Salvia roemeriana) and Cedar Rosette Grass (Dichanthelium pedicillatum). The beautiful but notoriously difficult to propagate Texas Madrone (Arbutus xalapensis) also seems to germinate best in the soil beneath these trees. Other central Texas plants often seen under or near it are American Smoke Tree (Cotinus obovatus), White Limestone Honeysuckle (Lonicera albiflora), Lindheimers Garrya (Garrya ovata var. lindheimeri), and Orange Zexmenia (Wedelia texana)."

However, what you have requested is a replacement variety of trees. We will go to our Recommended Species for the Edwards Plateau and, using the list of characteristics on the right hand side of the page, look for Tree under Habit and Narrow Your Search. You can use the same technique to look for Herb (herbaceous blooming plants), Shrub, Grasses, etc. You can also select on sunlight available, soil moisture, even desired height on each habit. Since you are replacing trees, we will give you a list of suggested trees from this list; all are native in or around Williamson County:

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)

Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Leucaena retusa (Goldenball leadtree)

 

From the Image Gallery


Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Cedar sage
Salvia roemeriana

Texas madrone
Arbutus xalapensis

American smoke tree
Cotinus obovatus

Western white honeysuckle
Lonicera albiflora

Zexmenia
Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Texas persimmon
Diospyros texana

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Goldenball leadtree
Leucaena retusa

More Trees Questions

Inquiry about the Arizona Cypress trees in the Family Garden
March 20, 2015 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I recently visited The Wildflower Center and enjoyed seeing several features that were new since my last visit two years ago. In the Family Garden areas I saw several beautifu...
view the full question and answer

Surface tree roots hurting grass in Houston
March 21, 2013 - We have 2 mature Arizona Ash trees in our yard (30-40'). One of them is in a sunnier location and has developed an extensive network of surface roots (up to 1 to 1 1/2" Dia.) between the tree and th...
view the full question and answer

Distance from existing structures for live oak
April 18, 2009 - How close to your house slab, driveway and footpaths should you plant live oaks so as to avoid in the future damage from roots, falling branches, etc?
view the full question and answer

Possible fungus growing on mountain ash (Sorbus sp. or Fraxinus sp.)
January 20, 2008 - We have a mountain ash with something growing several feet off the ground that looks like duckbills or mushrooms. Can you tell me what is wrong with it. We lost one mountain ash tree to something an...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for wildlife habitat in West Virginia
February 05, 2008 - We live in the southern region of Summers County in West Virginia. Our yard has a lot of shell and small rocks in it; it is in direct sun light. I would love to have a welcoming hummingbird, butterfly...
view the full question and answer

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