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
1 rating

Monday - April 11, 2005

From: Atlanta, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Smarty Plants on southern magnolia
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I live in East Texas and there are two 50-year-old southern magnolia trees in front of my house on the highway right-of-way marked to be destroyed. The Texas Department of Transportation has allowed these trees to remain over the years, but now they say they have to go because they want to put in a curb and gutter system through Main St. leading up to their District office. We have flooding problems maybe once every 30 years and it is in the area away from these trees where there is a creek that could be utilized more efficiently instead! Can you tell me if a southern magnolia is considered a wildflower and give me an educated "guesstimate" of how much these trees are worth in general?            

ANSWER:

Most people would not consider magnolia trees wildflowers. We would, but we take a broader view of the term wildflower to include any native flowering plant. Magnolia certainly fits those criteria. The value of your trees will depend on many factors, but the replacement cost for large caliper trees can run into thousands of dollars. However, whether or not a plant is a wildflower gives it no legal protection unless it is an endangered species. Magnolias are not endangered. It seems, though, that the issues you face are largely legal and political, for which we really cannot give you much useful advice. Of course, an attorney would be able to advise you of your legal rights, and of those of the city or highway department as well. Local garden clubs, environmental groups, newspapers or sympathetic city leaders might prove helpful in your efforts to save your trees. Best of luck.

 

From the Image Gallery


Southern magnolia
Magnolia grandiflora

More Trees Questions

Cedar elm with brown leaves
August 12, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We feel we may have limited time to save our beautiful Ceder Elm. We have many trees in our yard (Post Oaks and Cedar Elms) and have been told they are all between 50 - 75 year...
view the full question and answer

Deer-resistant trees for privacy in Texas
January 09, 2015 - I need to find a deer resistant tall shrub or tree to plant and hide the deer fence my neighbor just put up on our property line. My property has full sun in parts and mostly shady in other parts and ...
view the full question and answer

Trees failing to prosper from Denham Spring LA
December 23, 2013 - I live in Louisiana. Out of all of the native trees that we grow, there are two in particular that always struggle no matter what the conditions are in which they grow. The first one, sassafras, is ...
view the full question and answer

Injury from non-native Canary Palm from Torrance CA
October 18, 2013 - I got stuck in the eye a yr ago by a Phoenix canariensis. It went through my retina and through the integral chamber and put a stamp on my lense. There was no room for any more err without causing bli...
view the full question and answer

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
view the full question and answer

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