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
5 ratings

Sunday - September 16, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Shrubs
Title: Shrubs with berries for birds and growing small red oak tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Recently, I saw a short article about attracting birds to one's yard. The article said to plant "berry-bearing" shrubs, but didn't name any specific shrubs. Could you tell me the names of shrubs that would appeal to our local birds? Also, can you suggest anything that might encourage a tiny red oak tree to grow? We planted a "volunteer" from another yard, but it has stubbornly refused to grow more than 2 inches in 3 years. I don't want to yank it and replace it, because it is still very much alive, just tiny. Thank you for reading my e-mail. Clueless in the landscape,

ANSWER:

Here are several "berry-bearing" shrubs that are native to Central Texas and will attract birds.

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Ilex decidua (possumhaw)

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry)

Mahonia trifoliolata (agarita)

Mahonia swaseyi (Texas barberry)

Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

You might also like read several of our How to Articles (e.g., "Creating a Wildflower Garden", "Wildlife Gardening Bibliography").

I'm not sure whether you have Quercus texana (Texas red oak) or Quercus shumardii (Shumard's oak). They are very similar and they both have a moderate growth rate. Little growth in three years is not a good sign, but plants sometimes do this and then suddenly put on a great growth spurt just when you're about to give up on them.

 


Ilex vomitoria

Ilex decidua

Callicarpa americana

Mahonia trifoliolata

Mahonia swaseyi

Rhus aromatica

Rhus glabra

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus virens

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Shade loving plants with color for Irving, Texas
July 01, 2010 - Looking for shade loving perennials or annuals with color - native and low water. Live in Irving, Texas.
view the full question and answer

Perennial Suggestions for Under Ash Trees in Minnesota
June 12, 2013 - With our house we have inherited 2 ash trees in our front yard with a large amount landscaping underneath. I'm replacing the landscaping but there are tree roots at the surface preventing me from bei...
view the full question and answer

Time for pruning wax myrtle in Texas
January 31, 2015 - We live in Houston. Can we prune back our southern wax myrtle now?
view the full question and answer

Are Texas Sage plants being harmed by nearby Rosemary.
June 08, 2015 - For 6+ years I've been growing Rosemary shrubs interspersed with Texas Sage. For the past two years the Texas Sage has been looking sickly and have not produced any flowers and the Rosemary is becom...
view the full question and answer

Plants to keep children out of yard
April 23, 2008 - I WANT TO PLANT SOMETHING ALONG A FENCE LINE TO KEEP CHILDREN OUT OF OUR YARD. NEEDS TO GROW FAST BUT NOT POISONOUS
view the full question and answer

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