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

Tuesday - June 04, 2013

From: san rafael, CA
Region: California
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Looking for a specimen shade tree in San Rafael, CA
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I'm looking for a specimen shade tree that can get 30'x30', that doesn't drop a bunch of crud (seeds, etc) on the patio (leaves are ok), medium to low water requirement, roots are behaved, zone 9, red color in fall a plus.

ANSWER:

One of the chief activities of plants is to reproduce, so we have to put up with flowers, fruits and, seeds scattered around the yard. However, there are some trees that are less messy than others.

At this point I should mention that 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.

Lets start our search for an appropriate tree by going to our Native Plant Database  and scrolling down to the Combination Search box. Select California 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 16 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. As you proceed, look for trees that match up with your growing conditions. You can generate other lists by changing your selection criteria.

Another source  of trees is at this link from calpoly.edu. With this list you need to already know the name of the  plant, however, there are other features at the link that can be quite helpful.

This link from tytyga.com (this is a commercial nursery) is well illustrated with a large variety of of shade trees, many of which are non-natives.

Once youve found your tree, our “How to Plant a Tree” article from our Step by Step Guides should  prove helpful.

Since you mentioned roots, I’m including a couple of links that help illuminate their underground world.

floridaplants.com

colostate.edu

 

More Trees Questions

Need substitute plants for Red Tip Photinia in San Antonio.
April 14, 2009 - Looking to replace Red Tips with major leaf spot infections. Need about third replaced. What suggestions would you have to replace these privacy hedge row type plants? Need a plant that will grow at...
view the full question and answer

Desert Willow tree for Plano, TX
March 03, 2013 - I live near Dallas, Texas. I have a small Desert Willow tree that I would like to plant. What is the root system of this tree like? Would I be able to plant it near our patio? How far from the house'...
view the full question and answer

Sending a picture of an oak from Yorktown TX
December 02, 2011 - How I can I send a pic of my oak in Yorktown near Cuero?
view the full question and answer

Watering Oak Trees in the Summer
July 15, 2011 - Should you water oak trees in the summer? Some people say its not good for them. But many trees seem to be withering up and dying in this heat. Especially the black jack oaks. There are also post ...
view the full question and answer

Source for Desert Willow from Dallas
October 03, 2011 - I'm looking for a source for chilopsis linearis. I live in Dallas, TX. None of the specialty nurseries in Dallas seem to be able to source it. Is there any local source? Is there any source withi...
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