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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.

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Sunday - August 10, 2014

From: Vienna, WV
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Moderate-sized trees for lawn in West Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton


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 very much. On one side of the Magnolia, where the land is level, they included three (3) Cherry Laurel's. I don't think that would be the correct plant for the location and have asked them to come up with some other alternatives. The side of the house in that location is tall (two stories), but I don't want to have something that grows very tall and would like something with low maintenance. Any suggestions?


To find suggestions for you I went to our Special Collections page and chose West Virginia Recommended from RECOMMENDED SPECIES BY STATE and then used the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to select  "6-12" and "12 to 36" from HEIGHT (IN FEET).   Since I don't know the details of your site (soil, amount of sunlight, available moisture), you should read the requirements under GROWING CONDITIONS for each of the species.

Hamamelis virginiana (Witch hazel)  Here is more information from Floridata.

Lindera benzoin (Northern spicebush)  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

Euonymus americanus (American strawberry-bush)  Here is more information from Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia and North Carolina Coastal Federation.

Rhododendron maximum (Great laurel)  Here is more information from North Carolina Cooperative Extension.

Cercis canadensis (Eastern redbud)  Here is more information from US Forest Service and US Dept. of Agriculture.

Cornus alternifolia (Alternateleaf dogwood)  Here is more information from Virginia Tech and from University of Illinois Extension.

Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw)  Here is more information from Missouri Botanical Garden.

You can find more possibilities by doing the search described above for yourself.


From the Image Gallery

Hamamelis virginiana

Northern spicebush
Lindera benzoin

American strawberry bush
Euonymus americanus

Great laurel
Rhododendron maximum

Eastern redbud
Cercis canadensis

Alternateleaf dogwood
Cornus alternifolia

Viburnum prunifolium

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