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
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - September 23, 2008

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Small, attractive tree to replace redbud
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hi. We have a dying redbud (approx 9 yrs old) in our west facing front yard. It gets lots of sun, and plenty of water from our irrigation system. We think the issue is a vertical split in the trunk, possible caused by wind damage. We would like to replace it and aren't sure what to replace it with. We already have large mature live oaks, and really are looking for something small and pretty, just in between our driveway and our neighbors. It really is the right size and shape for our space, but I've heard that redbuds aren't very hearty on long-living and that we should consider something else. We would like it to be pretty year-round, and something we can hang lights in at the holidays (we have small kids)!. Suggestions?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is sorry about your Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud).  They are beautiful, but they do typically have a short lifespan (10-20 years).  Here are a few suggestions for a replacement:

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel), evergreen and can reach 30 feet, but slow growing

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon), evergreen, up to 25 feet and retains red berries through the winter

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry), evergreen with attractive white flowers

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree), deciduous, up to 15 feet, interesting seeds

Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye), deciduous, up to 30 feet, pink flowers in spring

Frangula caroliniana (Carolina buckthorn), deciduous, up to 20 feet, red berries during winter

Cornus drummondii (roughleaf dogwood) , deciduous, showy white flowers. red berries in the fall


Sophora secundiflora

Ilex vomitoria

Prunus caroliniana

Ptelea trifoliata

Ungnadia speciosa

Frangula caroliniana

Cornus drummondii

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Protecting base of Texas Madrone tree in Austin
May 08, 2011 - 3 years ago, I successfully transplanted a 1-gallon Texas Madrone on the north side of an Ashe Juniper. The Madrone is thriving but the juniper, which has been a great "nurse", is dying. I am lookin...
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

Roots in foundation of home in Audubon NJ
February 17, 2012 - I live in an old house (almost 90 years old), and within the past year I have noticed in one area the concrete basement floor breaking. Today I finally made time to investigate. In these old houses ...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy in Pennsylvania
September 10, 2008 - I would like to plant a tall, thin evergreen in my yard (the taller and thinner the better). Privacy is a goal, so we're looking for dense branches. The area gets full sun, and the soil in this area ...
view the full question and answer

Mexican Plum not doing well in Liberty Hill, TX.
September 03, 2010 - Two summers have passed since I planted my Mexican Plum. It's in full sun. It seems to have added height but not much width. It's virtually a 7 foot stick with 1 foot branches from top to bottom. It...
view the full question and answer

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