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

Transplanting time for Smoketree in Quebec
September 14, 2006 - I would like to transplant my smoke tree. It is two years old. When would be the best time of the year to transplant. I live in Zone 4.
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for South Austin.
January 25, 2008 - I live in South, South Austin, just a pinch West of 35 near 1626. I would like to plant some fruit trees in the back yard. Anyone will sell fruit trees, but they don't always grow. What fruiting var...
view the full question and answer

Planning garden tasks in advance from Austin
January 03, 2012 - My yard was a disaster last year-grass and trees browning, early leaf fall on flowering plants, and water bills sky high, even with the limited watering days. What can I do this year to prevent this s...
view the full question and answer

Erosion Solution for Lorton, VA
February 07, 2014 - We have a steep slope in our common area of our homeowners association. Trees that were planted have died. It is a large area around a pond. What should we plant that will hold the soil? The soil...
view the full question and answer

When do bigtooth maples (Acer grandidentatum) seeds mature and fall?
December 04, 2009 - Hello, In answer to a previous question, you said that Bigtooth Maple samaras come ripe around August-September. Recently, I went to Lost Maples State Natural Area, and in their display, it says...
view the full question and answer

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