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

Wednesday - January 23, 2013

From: Dallas, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Need suggestion for a replacement tree in Dallas, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

We are going to have a 25' tall tree removed and ground out because every year squirrels chew the branches and make huge piles on the deck and into the pool. This continues for a good month 1.5. Hence, we would like to replace the tree with another tall 20-25' non deciduous (if possible)tree. This tree will be next to a pool on a slope with good drainage. We entertained a Red Bud which appears to be a good size with good colors however the draw back is that it is deciduous. Is there a non-deciduous alternative that you would recommend.

ANSWER:

You didn’t tell me what kind of tree you are removing, but it seems a shame to cut down a 25‘ tree because of a bunch of unruly squirrels. I’m assuming you realize that you won’t have a 25’ tree in that location for several years. The Red Bud can be a handsome tree with beautiful pink flowers in the Spring, but in adition to it being deciduous, it produces numerous seed pods that can be messy.

Lets begin with some terminology.
Deciduous vs non-deciduous (evergreen)

Deciduous trees loose all of their leaves for part of the year as part of the dormancy process. The tree doesn’t have to maintain the leaves during the harsh weather of winter, and it is saving energy for a growth spurt in the spring.

Non-deciduous trees have leaves or needles that stay on the plant through out all of the seasons. This does not mean that the needles or leaves never die or fall off. It means that when they do, they are replaced by new ones and the plant is never without greenery. These plants are also known as  evergreen plants. Semi-evergreen can refer to plants that loose most of their leaves in the fall or during dry periods, but still keep some of them. It can also refer to plants that keep all of their leaves into the winter and then loose them as compared to trees that loose their leaves in the fall.

To look for some plants, let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database . Scroll down to the Combination Search Box and make the following selections: select Texas under state, tree under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check sun under Light requirement, dry under Soil moisture, Evergreen under Leaf Retention, and 12-36’ under Height. Click on the Submit Combination Search button, and you will get a  list of 8 native trees for Texas landscapes. Clicking  on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page which contains a description of the plant, its growth characteristics and requirements, and in most cases images. As you check out each plant, you can note its size and other features. If you are concerned about a mess on your deck, pay attention to the kinds of flowers and fruits the tree has. You can redo the search and click Deciduous or Semi-evergreen and get different list.

For some help closer to home, I suggest the Dallas County Office of Texas AgriLife Extension for some recommendatioins.

Once you have selected your tree, this link and our "Step by Step Guides" have some good advice for planting a tree.

 

More Trees Questions

Leaf spot as indicator of Oak Wilt Disease
May 26, 2007 - I live close to the Wilflower Center. I have two trees in my front yard which are just now showing brown spots on the leaves. I fear this may be oak wilt. Would it be possible for me to bring som...
view the full question and answer

Oak roots damaged by ax from Austin
July 03, 2013 - Hello. I am attempting to create my own tiny copy of the Wildflower Center within my yard. I'm using all native, drought tolerant plants. My front yard is full of live oaks. I used a sod cutter la...
view the full question and answer

Natural privacy hedge for Kyle Texas
January 06, 2014 - I am looking to make a natural privacy screen in the Kyle Texas area. I am being pointed towards Leyland Cypress by some and told to shy away from this tree by others. I found Green Giant Arborvitae a...
view the full question and answer

Propagating a white cultivar of Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora
September 09, 2016 - I am trying to propagate a white cultivar of the Texas Mountain Laurel. I plan to use bee sticks and pollinate the plant. Are the plants self fruiting or do I need to find another white mountain laure...
view the full question and answer

PVC pipes for irrigation in ground in Austin
August 19, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants,What are your thoughts on installing PVC pipes into the ground around trees and shrubby trees? A classmate's grandmother had a pipe pushed or pounded into the ground near her speci...
view the full question and answer

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