En Español

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

Friday - May 31, 2013

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Would like a small tree for yard in Las Vegas, NV.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

would like a small tree with root system that grows down not spread on surface. Had raywood and medesto ash tree both died of desease. Diagnosed by arborist. Stated that these trees to big for my yard. Both of these tree root system was surface oriented rather the roots system that grows downward and can survive in Las Vegas, Nevada

ANSWER:

Both of the trees you had are well known for root problems. Did your arborist have any suggestions about a replacement tree?

One piece of information that would have been helpful is the size of your yard.  A tree planting guide from the Texas Forest Service  recommends that you plan on a space in your yard of 60 sq. ft. for a small tree, 120 sq.ft.for a medium tree, and 180 sq.ft. for a large tree. A small tree is up to 20 ft. tall, a medium tree is 20 to 40 ft. tall, and a large tree is 40 ft. or more.  The “Tree Planting Tools” section of the guide has good information about selecting, planting, and caring for your new tree.

Let’s look at some possibilities, but before we do that, we have a word from our sponsor: the mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, is  to increase the growth, propagation and protection of plants native not only to North America, but to the area in which they are being grown.

Let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database where you can explore 7,415 native plants by scientific or common name. Scroll down to the Combination Search box, and select Nevada under State, tree under Habit, and perennial under Duration. Check Sun under Light requirement and dry under Soil moisture, and 12 - 36 ft.under Height. Click the Submit Combination Search button, and you will get a list of 8 native species of trees. Click on the scientific name of each plant and its NPIN page will appear which contains information about growth characteristics and requirements. A choice that didn’t appear in the list isChilopsis linearis (Desert willow).

This list from your National Public Radio  station has some interesting choices. Be aware that Norm has some non-natives included.

This article from the Southern Nevada Water Authority  addresses some of your concerns about root systems in trees.

 

More Trees Questions

Pruning tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
June 05, 2009 - Thank you for your answer regarding when my tulip tree will flower. I also understand it can/will grow to over 100 feet so should we be pruning it a certain way to keep it contained? thank you
view the full question and answer

Eastern redcedar uprooted by snow in Arlington, TX
February 14, 2010 - During the recent snowstorm one of our juniperus virginiana fell over with the rootball looking intact and with a lot of soil all around it.Should we try to save it? It is approximately 20 feet tall ...
view the full question and answer

Spacing of Trees near a House Foundation
June 18, 2015 - Can you recommend non-invasive shade tree that can be planted 6 to 7 feet from foundation. We are buying a new home in zone 8a and choices that are given are: Live Oak, Lacebark Elm, Cedar Elm, and B...
view the full question and answer

Should I use wound paint when pruning my live oak tree?
February 04, 2010 - When trimming live oak branches, is it best to coat the wound on the tree? I have been doing this but have recently heard that it can actually be bad for the tree.
view the full question and answer

Young oak damaged by falling tree from San Diego TX
June 27, 2012 - My neighbor's Palo Blanco tree was struck by lightning and fell over our fence and on to a young oak tree in our yard. We waited a few days to see if the neighbor would offer help, but he never did,...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center