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
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

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

Leaves falling off recently transplanted mature Mountain Laurel
July 05, 2006 - I have recently purchased a Mountain Laurel for my backyard landscaping. It is a fully matured ML standing over 9 feet tall by 6 feet wide. Since it was planted (about 6 weeks ago) it has been losin...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of one Desert Willow in Phoenix AZ
September 06, 2013 - We planted 4 desert willow trees in the summer and 3 of the 4 are doing excellent, however the last one is not not doing so well, it was the smallest of all and it started out fine but its leaves bega...
view the full question and answer

Changing color of crape myrtle blooms
July 08, 2008 - I have 5 well established crape myrtle trees whose blooms are a very light lavender/pink color. I would like to know if there is any way to deepen or change the color of the blooms. I would prefer a m...
view the full question and answer

How can I prune my Texas Mountain Laurels to be more tree-like?
March 24, 2011 - I planted several Texas Mountain Laurels last spring and would like to train them to be more tree-like rather than shrub-like. Each is around 36" tall with 5-10 trunks coming from the ground. Where...
view the full question and answer

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