En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Is Robinia pseudoaccia a good replacement tree for Shumard oaks in Austin TX?

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
1 rating

Wednesday - February 27, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Trees
Title: Is Robinia pseudoaccia a good replacement tree for Shumard oaks in Austin TX?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

Recently two of our Shumard trees in the front of our house died. Both trees were small/medium in size having only been growing for 13-17 years. I've been reading about Black Locust trees which according to several charts seem that they would do well in the Central Texas area. They are fast growing (maybe too fast growing as several places also list them as invasive), and provide flowers for hummingbirds and bees. However, I don't see them listed in recommended trees for this area of Texas on the LBJWC site. Is there a reason this tree wouldn't do well in our climate?

ANSWER:

You have discovered a difference between the lists of plants generated by a Recommended Species Search and a Combination Search using our database.

For example, if you were searching for plants in Central Texas using the Recommended  Species Lists, you would get a list of commercially available plants suitable for gardens and planned landscapes in Texas (the key words are "commercially available"). Using the Combination Search for trees in Texas would give you a list of native tree species that occur within the state.

Black Locust Robinia pseudoacacia (Black locust) does occur in Travis County , but has some features that make it less than desirable. This excerpt from its NPIN page points these out.

“The eagerness of Robinia pseudoacacia to establish just about anywhere has a dark side; Black locust is often considered an invasive species and a garden thug because it spreads very rapidly by root sprouts and by the copious seeds it produces. Its wood, renowned for its toughness, belies its habit of shedding branches in high winds. Finally, its thorns are vicious to anyone attempting to work in or around the tree. This species and its various cultivars and hybrids should be rejected for most landscape uses because of the trees many bad habits.”
Further down the page you’ll find this; 
“Warning: This species naturalizes easily and is considered an invasive weed in many of its non-native areas of establishment. Its brittle branches (subject to breaking in winds), vicious thorns, rampant root sprouts and copious seeding make this species a garden thug.”

This theme is expanded upon in this link to  gardeninggone wild.com. 

And finally Black Locust has made the Plant Conservation Alliance’s “Least Wanted List”.

You may want to check out the Texas Tree Planting Guide  from the Texas Forest Service to help you pick out your new tree. This is an interactive guide that is just full of information about trees, and it is fun to use. By using the Custom Tree Selector, you will learn their recommendations for Travis County. Another feature in the Guide is the Tree Planting Tools page. Two topics of interest are “Relative Tree Sizes”, and “Planning for your Available Space”. 

Here is another tree planting link from the City of Houston.

And from our Step by Step Guides, “How to Plant a Tree ".

 

From the Image Gallery


Shumard oak
Quercus shumardii

More Problem Plants Questions

More on bluebonnets
March 10, 2003 - Clover has taken over and just about covered the Bluebonnets. Is there any way of removing the clover such as with fertilizer or something else?
view the full question and answer

Controlling Passionflora Incarnata propagation
March 20, 2012 - Would a cinderblock raised bed, 8 inches in height, be sufficient to contain the roots of passiflora incarnata and keep them from traveling to places where I don't want the vine? Are the roots deepe...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine with hair-like prickles
January 04, 2013 - Trying to find out what kind of vine I ran into yesterday while climbing a deer stand. While pushing limbs and vines down from around me, I noticed hair-like thorns stuck in my sleeves and hands. This...
view the full question and answer

Dietes bicolor invasive from Brisbane Australia
April 01, 2013 - We have dietes bicolor growing in our garden. I am changing the type of garden and cannot seem to kill it. I've dugged it out, spent too many weekends pulling out every new shoot, used poison, but t...
view the full question and answer

Plant identification of vine in Ohio
September 21, 2010 - I have a vine in my forest that grows up trees, that could eventually pull them over. It has roundleaves and prickers on the stem. What is this vine so I can research it?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center