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

Wednesday - September 11, 2013

From: Ellicott City, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Shade Tree for Baltimore Patio
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I am looking for a deep-rooted shade tree (or a tall shrub) for near my patio in Baltimore, Md. I desire shade in summer, but with minimum impact to the patio. The tree would be about 20 feet from the house. Any suggestions?

ANSWER:

The first place to go to find a list of potential plants is our Native Plant Database. Use the Combination Search feature instead of Recommended Species. This will provide a bigger selection with much more choice to narrow down. The volunteers and staff at the Wildflower Center who maintain the database have partners in different regions to help with these recommended species lists based on what is easy to access in local nurseries.
Under Combination Search, select the following categories: State – Maryland, Habit – tree, Duration – Perennial, Light Requirement – Sun, Soil Moisture – Moist, Size – 12-36 ft. You can narrow down this search further by indicating leaf retention, blooming time and bloom color too if you like.
These search criteria will give you trees to consider. Some of the trees have fruit that may have an impact on your patio (Morus rubra, Prunus serotina, Prunus virginiana) so take this into consideration. You can also redo the search for the larger trees and shrub category too. Follow each plant link to our webpage for that plant to learn its growing conditions, bloom time, etc. At the bottom of each plant webpage, under Additional Resources, there is a link to the USDA webpage for that plant. Take a look there for more specific details about suitability before you put them on your final planting list.

Some of the potential trees (12-26 ft) to consider are:

Acer spicatum (mountain maple)

Alnus incana (gray alder)

Amelanchier laevis  (Allegheny serviceberry)

Asimina triloba (pawpaw)

Pinus virginiana (Virginia pine)

Ptelea trifoliata (wafer ash)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

Sorbus americana (American mountain ash)

 

From the Image Gallery


Mountain maple
Acer spicatum

Gray alder
Alnus incana

Allegheny serviceberry
Amelanchier laevis

Allegheny serviceberry
Amelanchier laevis

Pawpaw
Asimina triloba

Pawpaw
Asimina triloba

Virginia pine
Pinus virginiana

Wafer ash
Ptelea trifoliata

Sassafras
Sassafras albidum

American mountain ash
Sorbus americana

American mountain ash
Sorbus americana

More Shrubs Questions

Moderate-sized trees for lawn in West Virginia
August 10, 2014 - I recently had a landscape design completed by a professional lanscape company. The landscape is sloping down in front of my house. At the corner they included a Sweet Bay Magnolia, which we like ve...
view the full question and answer

Foundation plants unlikely to provide good shade for rattlesnakes in TX
August 28, 2011 - I would like to plant native grass around my new home in the country near Mason, TX. My concerns are the rattlesnakes that are common here, and if they could "hide" in the native grasses since they ...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
June 17, 2012 - Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with ba...
view the full question and answer

Pool-Side Plants for Miami
April 02, 2015 - I am looking for plants, along the line of ti plant cordyline features, to plant around my chlorinated pool area with full South Miami sun. We have a dog therefore they must be non-toxic plants. The...
view the full question and answer

Need some help with a Plumbago plant in Mission, TX.
August 06, 2010 - Hello..I live in south South Texas and have a plumbago. It gets about 4 to 5 hours of direct sun and lately some of the branches and leaves turn bright green almost yellow. Am I over watering or is ...
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