Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

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

Tuesday - August 11, 2015

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Diseases and Disorders, Trees
Title: Can a Quaking aspen grow in central Texas?
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I live in Austin and like the idea of a Quaking Aspen tree. I live on a creek and the tree(s) would get good sun and water. Am I crazy?

ANSWER:

Yes!  

You aren't the only person in love with Populus tremuloides (Quaking aspen).  The fact that none are seen in this area suggests that they are not happy here.  It sounds as though you have most of the right conditions for Aspen growth.  But you can't control our high summer temperatures.  A number of studies have shown that prolonged heat damages Aspen.  The structure of Aspen xylem elements is such that not enough water can be drawn up into the canopy during hot weather.  The stressed tree easily falls victim to disease and other disorders.

You would be better off settling for one of the more mundane, yet very attractive, tree species recommended by the City of Austin. Populus deltoides (Eastern cottonwood) and Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) have some of the qualities of an Aspen and thrive in Austin.

I admire you for thinking outside the box.  Keep looking for the unusual.

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

Eastern cottonwood
Populus deltoides

American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Grasshopper-resistant landscape plants?
May 20, 2009 - We have a ton of grasshoppers in our area. I would like to plant bushes and flowers that the grasshoppers will not eat. Can you suggest any??
view the full question and answer

Need help diagnosing a problem with Bur Oak in Plano, TX
April 28, 2010 - I planted a bur oak 8 or 9 years ago. It has grown beautifully until this year. When opening, the leaves are very small (a couple inches) and there are lots of seeds (catkins?). I would hate to los...
view the full question and answer

Muhly grass slow to green up from Spring Hill FL
August 04, 2012 - Have lots of muhly grass planted 3 yrs ago. This yr about 1/3 are VERY slow. Still look like hay stacks. No pattern in the bed. You mentioned pesticides being too close?
view the full question and answer

Plants resistant to Verticillium wilt in Norco CA
September 24, 2009 - I'm looking for small trees, flowering shrubs & vines that are resistant to verticillium wilt. Fragrance would be a plus. Thank you so much!
view the full question and answer

Waxy deposits on Magnolia fuscata from Ethel LA
June 18, 2013 - I have a 4yr old Magnolia Fascata (aka banana shrub)- I noticed that it has small oval shaped yellow waxy deposits on the branches.. I have also noticed small black ants on the branches. The unknown d...
view the full question and answer

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