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?

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
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

Wednesday - February 27, 2013

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Pruning, Trees
Title: Removing a non-native windmill palm from Austin
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a fairly good size windmill palm (about 15ft high) that is planted too close to the house. I also don't like having to constantly remove its fronds as they block a walkway. Is there a good way to remove this palm? I would not have chosen this species and would like to replace it with a good native shrub.

ANSWER:

Here is a U-Tube video on digging out a windmill palm. You will note that there are four or five BIG guys working on it, and the root ball is huge. It is native to China, Burma and India, which means it really doesn't belong in Central Texas. You are correct, it should not have been planted where it would interfere with the walkway, as it gets to be a really big tree.

From a website called Buzzle here is an article on palm tree removal. They have recommendations for simply killing the tree, but it still looks like a very big job. We would recommend you either take the advice of this article to try to trim it up to make it work in your environment or kill it. Our overall advice is to choose some professionals to do it, as they should not only have the big guys but the right machinery. This is a lesson for anyone else considering planting a palm or any other large tree; be aware of the mature size and branch growth of the planned tree before you plant. You didn't plant it so it's not your fault, but you still have the problem to deal with.

Now we will go to our Native Plant Database and, using the Combination Search, select on Texas for the state, "shrub" for the Habit, and pick out the Light Requirement and expected size on the Search page. We will give you a sample list choosing plants native to Travis County. You can follow each plant link to our webpage on that plant and see if the ones on our list suit your purposes. Since we don't know the size you want nor the amount of sunlight you will have for the plant, you may need to refine our search for a better fit in your yard. For instance, there is a place on that search page for whether you want an evergreen or deciduous plant.

Shrubs for Austin:

Aesculus pavia (Scarlet buckeye)

Aloysia gratissima (Whitebrush)

Amorpha fruticosa (Indigo bush)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Chilopsis linearis (Desert willow)

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)

Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk's cap or turkscap)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)

Tecoma stans (Yellow bells)

 

From the Image Gallery


Whitebrush
Aloysia gratissima

Indigo bush
Amorpha fruticosa

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Desert willow
Chilopsis linearis

Texas kidneywood
Eysenhardtia texana

Yaupon
Ilex vomitoria

Cenizo
Leucophyllum frutescens

Turk's cap or turkscap
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Coralberry
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus

Yellow bells
Tecoma stans

Scarlet buckeye
Aesculus pavia

More Trees Questions

Browning leaves on recently planted chinkapin oak in Rockwall TX
June 09, 2010 - I just planted a chinkapin oak that is about 1 1\2 inches thick last week and now some of the leaves are turning brown. Does that mean its dying? Do you have any tips that I could use to protect it?
view the full question and answer

Trees for a privacy barrier
October 06, 2007 - What would you suggest to plant for a privacy barrier along a back fence in Austin Texas? They need to be hardy and atleast 10 to 12 feet tall to block my neighbor's second story view of my yard.
view the full question and answer

Plants under an oak tree from Corpus Christi TX
June 30, 2012 - My project: To grow white turk's cap under an old oak tree I first planted St. Augustine sod this spring because we had many oak suckers around the tree. We mixed new soil and compost, and laid the ...
view the full question and answer

Small green balls falling from oaks in Hunt TX
May 03, 2014 - Our live oak trees have pin-sized black and green balls falling from them (there are so may that is sounds like rain!) The balls are not associated with or fall with the catkins. Thanks for your ass...
view the full question and answer

Identification of tree with red feathery leaves
March 08, 2012 - What is the name of a tree with dark red leaves, feathery, slim trunk; maybe in the pepper family? Jedi?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center