Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Saturday - May 09, 2015

From: Youngstown, OH
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Evergreen Conifer for Moist, Full Sun Site in Ohio
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

We need to find an evergreen conifer, classic holiday-shaped tree that will tolerate a very moist, but not soaking wet, site in full sun.

ANSWER:

There are lots of native plants that would make great evergreen conifers for your garden. Let’s start first with a list of native plants for your area. Take a look at the Native Plant Database on the www.wildflower.org website and put in the following search criteria: State = Ohio, habit = tree, duration = perennial, light requirement = sun, soil moisture = moist, leaf retention = evergreen  Then select the height you desire. Most conifers would be in the 12-100 foot range.  This will generate a list of 3 plants for you to investigate.

They are:

Abies balsamea (balsam fir) The only fir native to the Northeast, with narrow, pointed, spirelike crown of spreading branches and aromatic foliage.

Pinus virginiana (Virginia pine) Virginia pine is a straggling, scrubby evergreen, 15-40 ft. tall, becoming flat-topped with age. Outstretched limbs spring irregularly from the reddish-brown trunk. Cones are sharp to the touch due to prickly-like appendages. Short-needled tree with open, broad, irregular crown of long spreading branches; often a shrub.

Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) In a crowded environment, this tree is slender and not well-branched. In the open, it improves in form and density. The evergreen can be single- or multi-trunked and columnar or conical in shape. Eastern arborvitae can grow 40-60 ft. tall, but under cultivation will probably be no taller than 30 ft. Branches end in flat, spreading, horizontal sprays of fragrant, dark-green foliage which turns yellow-green or slight brown in winter. Resinous and aromatic evergreen tree with angled, buttressed, often branched trunk and a narrow, conical crown of short, spreading branches.

Probably the first North American tree introduced into Europe, it was discovered by French explorers and grown in Paris about 1536. The year before, tea prepared from the foliage and bark, now known to be high in vitamin C, saved the crew of Jacques Cartier from scurvy. It was named arborvitae, Latin for tree-of-life, in 1558. The trees grow slowly and reach an age of 400 years or more. The lightweight, easily split wood was preferred for canoe frames by Native Americans, who also used the shredded outer bark and the soft wood to start fires. Today, the wood is used principally for poles, cross-ties, posts, and lumber. Cedar oil for medicine is distilled from the twigs.

 

From the Image Gallery


Balsam fir
Abies balsamea

Virginia pine
Pinus virginiana

Virginia pine
Pinus virginiana

Virginia pine
Pinus virginiana

Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis

Arborvitae
Thuja occidentalis

More Trees Questions

How many native trees in U.S. from Clarkson MI
May 18, 2011 - Does anybody have any numbers on how many native trees there are in the entire United States?
view the full question and answer

Problems with Savannah holly from Livingston TX
October 05, 2013 - Our Savannah Holly standards, planted in spring 2012, are now 10' tall, with 2-3" caliper trunks at the base. Some are in decline or have died. We thought the ribbons holding them to the nursery's ...
view the full question and answer

Possible transplant shock in Red Oak in Albany, TX
October 20, 2015 - We planted a new tree last spring which we were told was a Texas Red Oak. The soil where it was planted is hard clay. We have had a watering bag on it and have watered an average of 2x per week throug...
view the full question and answer

Plants native to Central New Jersey
September 28, 2008 - What trees are native to Central New Jersey? Also, can you give me a website or information on plant life and tree life in Central New Jersey?
view the full question and answer

Sticky material dripping from tree in Austin
July 22, 2012 - The tree in my backyard is dripping what I surmise is sap - a thick,fdrake1@ sticky substance in July. What kind of tree is it and is there anything one can do prevent this from happening? Thank you...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.