Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
3 ratings

Saturday - May 21, 2005

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Native maples for the Austin, TX area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am new to the state of Texas. I lived in Canada all of my life and miss my maple trees. Are maple trees (green or red leafed varieties) able to thrive in Austin?

ANSWER:

There are 5 members of the Family Aceraceae (maple family) that are native to Texas, but the only one that is native to Austin and Travis County is Box Elder or Ash-leaved Maple (Acer negundo). It doesn't look much like the other maples in overall shape or its leaf shape, nor does it have spectacular fall foliage; but the sap has sometimes been harvested for sugar. Chalk Maple (Acer leucoderme), Red Maple (Acer rubrum), and Southern Sugar Maple (Acer barbatum) all occur in the sandy Piney Woods of East Texas, and are not likely to thrive in the limestone soils of Central Texas. However, the Big-toothed Maple (Acer grandidentatum) grows on limestone soils northwest of Austin in Coryell County on the Ft. Hood military reservation and south of Austin in Bandera County in Lost Maples State Natural Area. The Big-toothed maple is listed in "Native and Adapted Landscape Plants: an Earth-wise Guide for Central Texas" published by the City of Austin and Texas Cooperative Extension. You can pick up a copy of this publication at many local nurseries. You can find nurseries and seed companies that specialize in native plants by visiting the National Suppliers Directory.
 

More Trees Questions

Dirt at tree base from Austin
November 03, 2012 - Hello, I recently bought a home in Austin with a live oak tree which is about eight years old. The previous owner did exactly what all the experts say NOT to do, which was to mound dirt right up agai...
view the full question and answer

Trouble with live oak in McKinney, TX
June 13, 2013 - We moved into a suburban home with a live oak tree with a trunk diameter of about 50". I noticed recently how yellow the leaves look compared to the other live oak in the yard. There is not a pattern...
view the full question and answer

Watering newly-planted Afghan Pines
May 11, 2015 - I just planted some Afghan pines in Amarillo, tx (avg. rainfall about 2O in. Per year) What would be the appropriate amount of water and how often would I need to water during this time.
view the full question and answer

Native alternatives for Japanese maple
September 05, 2007 - Hi, I am a landscaper trying to create a landscape in a shaded area with no sun. The person likes a Acer palmatum, but I am not sure it will grow there. We live in South Lake Tahoe. So I know of some ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning mature cedar elm trees in San Antonio
September 14, 2008 - When is the right time to prune my several mature cedar elm trees? I'm in San Antonio, and they have never been trimmed in the 55 years we have lived in this home. I have several that are at least 7...
view the full question and answer

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