Rent Shop 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
7 ratings

Friday - May 30, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Wispy plant to put behind a waterfall
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Needing a 10-20ft wispy ______ to plant behind our waterfall to help block out road noise. We live in Austin. I've looked at the Mexican weeping bamboo but are there other options?

ANSWER:

How about a Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)? Not only does it have wispy leaves, it also has beautiful flowers. This isn't a true willow, but a willow might be another possibility. The native willow in Travis County is Salix nigra (black willow). Another wispy native is Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite). Then there are Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia) and Acacia farnesiana (sweet acacia). Still another possibility is Rhus lanceolata (prairie sumac) which has wispy leaves, bright red berries, and beautiful fall foliage. Finally, there are Baccharis neglecta (Rooseveltweed) and Nolina texana (Texas sacahuista) which both look a little like Mexican weeping bamboo (Otatea acuminata aztecorum). We wouldn't recommend the Mexican weeping bamboo, however, since it isn't native—and what we are all about is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes."

 


Chilopsis linearis

Salix nigra

Prosopis glandulosa

Acacia angustissima

Acacia farnesiana

Rhus lanceolata

Rhus lanceolata

Baccharis neglecta

 


Nolina texana
 

More Trees Questions

Should a mustang grape be left near live oak in Austin?
July 17, 2009 - I recently removed a huge mass of jasmine from a clump of live oaks. Inside I found a very large (12' long) exposed root of a mustang grape. I'd like to trim it back to the original clump and reta...
view the full question and answer

Protecting a new patio from oak roots
September 01, 2008 - Hello, I have just formed up for a new patio. I have a Live Oak tree about 2' away from the patio. It has a trunk diameter of about 10", I believe 20-25 years old. Problem: I have 2 large roots in ...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of Ashe juniper from Austin
March 07, 2013 - I am in western Travis County and we have been clearing our land of some of the Ashe Juniper. When there is not a burn ban, we burn them because there are just too many to shred. I was wondering if ...
view the full question and answer

Living fence of native plants for Ojai, CA
September 20, 2008 - I would like to build a "green fence" about 10-15 feet tall. I live in Ojai, CA where we have VERY hot summers and it goes below freezing every winter. The soil does not seem to drain well..it is e...
view the full question and answer

Looking for juniper trees (Juniperus ashei) for sale
December 05, 2008 - Does anyone know anyone that sells Juniper trees in pots - the central Texas kind.
view the full question and answer

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