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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - February 19, 2007

From: Austin , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Wildflowers
Title: Native trees and wildflowers for acreage near San Marcos, TX
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

We are moving to 4 acres between Lockhart & San Marcos TX. The soil is a kind of gummy black clay. Elms, mesquite and grasses seem to grow well in it. What native trees and wildflowers would do well here? How can we best amend the soil around the house for planting? We are on a flat ridge with a long sloping hill down to the road, so the drainage is good in most places. Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:

Actually, you have lots of choices for you area. Here are some suggestions:

Large Trees
Texas oak (Quercus buckleyi)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
Blackjack oak (Quercus marilandica)
Chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)
Eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana)

Small Trees
Redbud (Cercis canadensis)
Mexican plum (Prunus mexicana)
Wafer-Ash (Ptelea trifoliata)
Mountain laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
Eve’s necklace (Styphnolobium affine)

Grasses
Purple threeawn (Aristida purpurea)
Lindheimer's muhly (Muhlenbergia lindheimeri)
Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis)
Inland sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium)
Buffalo grass (Bouteloua dactyloides) This is an excellent turf grass for full sun. It requires little water and minimal mowing.

Wildflowers
Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis)
Downy Indian paintbrush (Castilleja purpurea)
Clasping-coneflower (Dracopis amplexicaulis)
Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
Horsemint (Monarda citriodora)
Drummond's phlox (Phlox drummondii)
Greenthread (Thelesperma filifolium)
Cutleaf Daisy (Engelmannia peristenia)
Texas lantana (Lantana urticoides)
Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera)
Winecup (Callirhoe involucrata)

There are many more choices for wildflowers. You might consider purchasing one of the Special Mixes from Native American Seed in Junction, Texas. For every order through our web link, Native American Seeds donates a portion of the sale to the Wildflower Center. Their Native Texas Mix, the Comanche Mix, and the Wichita Mix all have species that would do very well in your area.

As for amending your soil, there shouldn't be any need to do so if you use the plants listed above. However, it might helpful for you to read some of our How to Articles

 

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