En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - March 05, 2013

From: Keithville, LA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Groundcovers, Shade Tolerant, Trees
Title: Plants for under Oak Trees in LA.
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson


What type of plants and grass can be planted under and around oak trees


   In an effort to not be too redundant – Mr. Smarty Plants has some really good answers to this in the archives.   Here is the link to a good one focussed around Austin, TX, and the links to further answers are contained in both.  The first sentence is a pretty good Executive Summary!

   “Finding something decent to grow under a Live Oak is one of those eternal challenges for the Austin area. As such, these three question/answer pairs from the Mr Smarty Archives contain a pretty good selection of advice towards native plants that will cope with the shade, alleleopathy and dense roots under a live Oak.”

Ground Cover under Oaks in Austin
Good One: Ground Cover under Live Oaks
2-4 Ft Shrub for Oak Shaded bed

I checked the plants recommended in the above links and all of them are shown as natives in Lousiana in addition to Texas, so even though the messages refer to Austin, the answers should work for Keithville.  If you'd like to investigate the recommended species for Louisiana, this link leads to that list. 


From the Image Gallery

Turk's cap or turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Dwarf palmetto
Sabal minor

Texas lantana
Lantana urticoides

More Trees Questions

Photographing and Identifying trees of Long Island
June 01, 2013 - After being in a car accident I got into photography as sports are a distant memory due to my injuries. As a new hobby I thought of taking pictures of trees and then finding out their species name. ...
view the full question and answer

Rhododendrons for afternoon sun
September 10, 2008 - Thanks for your suggestion that I plant rhodedenrons in my Brooklyn garden. In fact, the only bushes I've planted in the past that have survived are rhodedenrons so your definitely right! Here's my...
view the full question and answer

Trees that aren't poisonous or don't have poisonous berries for dogs
January 20, 2010 - What trees are not poisonous or have poison berries for dogs?
view the full question and answer

Growing non-native avocado outside from Austin
December 27, 2012 - My son has a very large avocado tree that he rooted from a pit that is currently growing in a large container. However, it has gotten too big to winter inside. Can it be planted in the ground in Aust...
view the full question and answer

Oak bark problems from Stillwater OK
May 14, 2012 - In my clients large oak tree there is bark stripped from the limbs in small pieces. No piece is larger than 1 inch by 1 inch and occurs on limbs high in the canopy. It does not look like squirrel doin...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center