Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Suppport 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
8 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

Tall trees for privacy screen in St. Augustine FL
March 24, 2013 - Please let me know what kind of evergreen tall trees I can plant for privacy in my back yard in the st. Augustine, Florida area. Thanks for your assistance.
view the full question and answer

Bugs on Arizona Cypress in Bellwood IL
August 27, 2011 - I live in Illinois and have an Arizona Cypress that looks like it is dying but I notice today it has bugs inside its cone. Can you tell me why and what can I do?
view the full question and answer

Ligustrums planted last summer are doing poorly in Houston, TX.
March 06, 2012 - I planted large mature ligustrums trees (~ 8 ft) last summer and the leaves are turning yellow and falling off. Can you please tell me what the cause of this might be and what we can do to prevent th...
view the full question and answer

Small native trees for northern Virginia
September 27, 2011 - Mr. Smarty Plants, I am looking for a native alternative to a Japanese Red Maple in northern Virginia. I would like a small tree that I can put in my front garden that will not pose a security risk my...
view the full question and answer

Live Oak Mess in Liberty, TX
April 09, 2015 - Should I leave the pollination debris that has fallen from my 3 historic live oaks on the ground surface beneath them or use a leaf blower to remove.
view the full question and answer

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