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

Wednesday - April 07, 2010

From: Houston, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Solution for wet area near fence
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I just moved into a house that is 10 years old on the north side of Houston, Texas. When it rains the water pools about 1 to 3 inches deep around the beds with trees (pine, sweet gum and chinaberry) and along the fence. Should we put in 75 feet of drain pipe or plant some thirsty trees? The fence is far enough from the house to plant some trees to shade the west side of the house and drink up the water. Can you suggest something besides willow trees?

ANSWER:

I sounds as if it might be a good idea for you to find a way to keep the water from pooling there.  A French drain might be a good solution.  You might be able to do this yourself at relatively little expense or you can also find landscape professionals in the Houston area by searching in our National Suppliers Directory who could help you do this.  There are trees that will tolerate wet areas well, but that doesn't mean that they are going to "drink" up the excess water. With the exception of the bald cypress, none of them will be happy growing in standing water for a long period.  They should all be good shade trees:

Quercus phellos (willow oak)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Quercus michauxii (swamp chestnut oak)

Betula nigra (river birch)

Taxodium distichum (bald cypress)

Carya illinoinensis (pecan)

Here are photos from our Image Gallery of these trees:


Quercus phellos

Platanus occidentalis

Quercus michauxii

Betula nigra

Taxodium distichum

Carya illinoinensis

 

 

More Trees Questions

City tree ordinance information
January 10, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I am writing to you in regards to city tree ordinances. I am a citizen of Grand Prairie, TX. and although the city is a Tree City, the city does not have a tree ordinance. T...
view the full question and answer

Native Texas tree for anniversary in Austin
May 20, 2009 - My husband and I would like to plant a tree in our yard commemorating our 5 year anniversary (wood anniversary). What native Texas tree can we plant in June? I love Red buds and any pretty blooming ...
view the full question and answer

Tree to plant on rocky soil in San Antonio
March 10, 2012 - I want to plant a tree in a particular spot in the yard but after digging down 10 inches I hit solid rock. I filled the hole with water and it took hours for it to go down. It is one of the higher e...
view the full question and answer

Mountain Laurel not growing in Hallettesville, TX.
September 16, 2012 - Mountain laurel has been planted over 2 years. Well drained,sandy soil, full sun. They have not grown or set blooms despite occasional all purpose fertilizers. What is wrong?
view the full question and answer

Interested in a mini food forest
February 04, 2013 - I am interested in starting a mini "food forest" in a twelve foot by twelve foot patch of earth next to my house. I'd like to put a focus on making sure that the bulk of the plants I introduce are ...
view the full question and answer

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