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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - October 31, 2008

From: Spring, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Eucalyptus tree for Spring, Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I've heard eucalyptus trees do not lose their leaves in the winter and grow considerably tall. I want to replace a decaying pine tree with a eucalyptus tree. Do you recommend that for the Spring, TX area climate.

ANSWER:

There are several reasons that we would not recommend Eucalyptus spp. for Spring, Texas.  First of all, they are  native to Australia and New Guinea and what we are all about here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center "is to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes" of North America. Secondly, some of the species of Eucalyptus are considered invasive (e.g., E. globulus in California).  Thirdly, most of the species grow best in Mediterranean-type climates with cool wet, winters and dry, warm summers. This isn't really the climate of Spring, Texas.  Additionally, the debris from eucalyptus (bark strips and fallen leaves) is highly flammable as are the trees themselves because of the volatile oils that they contain.

Here are several recommendations for native evergreen trees as a substitute for eucalyptus.  All of these grow in Harris County:

Ilex opaca (American holly)  

Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar)

Magnolia grandiflora (southern magnolia)

Pinus taeda (loblolly pine)

Prunus caroliniana (Carolina laurelcherry)

Quercus virginiana (live oak)


Ilex opaca

Juniperus virginiana

Magnolia grandiflora

Pinus taeda

Prunus caroliniana

Quercus virginiana

 

 

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