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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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Tuesday - April 06, 2010

From: Godley, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Pollinators, Privacy Screening, Shrubs, Trees
Title: Shrubs and trees to protect beehives in Godley TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Is there a (relatively) fast growing native small tree or large shrub (NOT cedar) that tolerates Johnson County clay, full sun, sometimes damp and sometimes dry soil with not very good drainage? Our poor beehives need summer shade and even a small buffer from frequent 20mph winds in our rural area sw of Fort Worth. I check the local gas well landscaping to see what grows, but all I saw there was cedar and unhappy redtip. Thank you!

ANSWER:

As scarce as bees, one of our most important pollinators, have become, we will be glad to help you help them in any way we can. We will definitely give you a list of appropriate shrubs and trees for full sun from our Recommended Species section, and make sure all of them will grow well in or near Johnson County, USDA Hardiness Zone 7b to 8a.

Before you go to the trouble and expense of putting those shrubs in the ground, may we suggest you do something to the ground to make it more hospitable? You say you have clay soil, most of your area of North Central Texas does, and that makes it difficult to get good drainage for roots in the soil. If you will take the time to work some compost or other organic material into the area where your shrubs or trees are going to grow, it will make a great difference in how well they do. And we're not talking just in the hole for the shrub, but the whole area where the windbreak and shade hedge will be. As those young plants begin to develop and grow, they will do much better if their expanding root structure can find more good, well-draining soil to move into. We also urge you to get this done and your new plants in the ground as soon as possible. It is usually better in Texas to plant woody plants, like trees and shrubs, in Fall or late Winter, when they are semi-dormant. As the summer heat draws rapidly closer, those little plants need to be in the ground, and well-watered until they are established. Mulch the roots with a good shredded bark mulch, which will protect the roots from the heat of the sun, help hold moisture in and, as it decomposes, continue to improve the texture of the soil.

In our Recommended Species section we will click first on North Central Texas and then on Central Texas to search for shrubs and trees that will serve your purpose. Pretty much they are the same plants in both areas, and Johnson County is kind of in-between, so these should all work. Some are evergreen, some are not; follow each plant link to the page on that plant to get more information. 

Shrubs for Full Sun in Johnson County, TX:

Eysenhardtia texana (Texas kidneywood)

Ilex vomitoria (yaupon)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Texas barometer bush)

Rhus virens (evergreen sumac)

Trees for Full Sun in Johnson County, TX:

Cercis canadensis var. texensis (Texas redbud)

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow)

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore)

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Eysenhardtia texana

Ilex vomitoria

Leucophyllum frutescens

Rhus virens

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Chilopsis linearis

Platanus occidentalis

Quercus macrocarpa

 

 

 

 

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