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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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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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Thursday - January 15, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: large tree suited for limestone site in Austin, TX
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a dying Chinaberry tree [35 ' tall; WNW corner of lot; at least 25 years old] that I am having removed. What native / adapted tree would you recommend to fill that void. I do understand that it will take a lot of time or a lot of money for another tree to get that size, but I would like to plant water wise and get rid of this invasive plant. We live on layers of limestone / bluestone in the Great Hills area of Austin.

ANSWER:

A good description of trees suitable for the Austin area has been published by the City of Austin. Large native tree species that will thrive on your site are limited in number. I recommend either Ulmus crassifolia (Cedar elm) or Fraxinus albicans (Texas ash) as being best suited for your limestone setting. If you have a pocket of fairly deep soil, consider Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak) or Acer grandidentatum (Bigtooth maple), species that are becoming more popular in Austin. Quercus buckleyi (Texas red oak) should do well, but it is very susceptible to oak wilt.

Winter is the best time to plant trees. Tips on tree planting are on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site. You can find native trees at local plant nurseries, such as Barton Springs Nursery and The Natural Gardener.

 

From the Image Gallery


Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Texas ash
Fraxinus albicans

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Bigtooth maple
Acer grandidentatum

Texas red oak
Quercus buckleyi

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