Contact Us Host an Event 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
6 ratings

Wednesday - May 03, 2006

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Invasive, non-native Paulownia
Answered by: Dean Garrett

QUESTION:

Hi. We would like to plant a fast growing tree that will provide shade for our house. What do you think of the Paulownia tree (Empress Tree) as a possibility for the Austin area? If this is not a good choice, what do you suggest for a two story home?

ANSWER:

Paulownia is a beautiful, extremely fast-growing tree which I would heartily recommend if you lived in eastern Asia, where it is originally from. However, in several parts of the United States it is considered invasive, including in Texas.

As far as I know, there are no Central Texas trees that will grow as fast as a Paulownia, but what our native trees lack in speed of growth they make up for in wood strength, suitability for local conditions, and stately beauty.

Some tall Central Texas trees suitable for shading a two-story house over time include:

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis)
Bur Oak (Quercus macrocarpa)

Shumard Oak (Quercus shumardii)
Escarpment Live Oak (Quercus fusiformis)
Cedar Elm (Ulmus crassifolia)
Escarpment Black Cherry (Prunus serotina var. eximia)

Some smaller ornamental trees with showy blooms that you could use as foreground or accent plantings include:

Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora)
Texas Redbud (Cercis canadensis var. texensis)
Mexican Buckeye (Ungnadia speciosa)


Carya illinoinensis

Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus shumardii

Quercus fusiformis

Ulmus crassifolia

Prunus serotina var. eximia

Sophora secundiflora

Cercis canadensis var. texensis

Ungnadia speciosa
 

More Non-Natives Questions

Failure to bloom of lantanas in San Antonio
July 22, 2010 - Mr. Smarty Plants, We have lantanas in our front yard. This summer the leaves have turned white and they die to a brown color all the while the leaves are "crispy". At the beginning of the season...
view the full question and answer

Replacing yellow bells with hibiscus from San Antonio
July 03, 2012 - Help! Will the roots of the yellow bells keep sprouting if I've removed the shrub? I'm replacing it with a hibiscus shrub. Will it do well in the same spot where the yellow bells were?
view the full question and answer

Question about non-native bottle brush bush
September 12, 2008 - I have a bottle brush bush it has not bloomed. I have had it about 6 months planted in the ground. I am worried it may not. can you tell me what you think. thanks lori
view the full question and answer

Insect pest on non-native dwarf apply tree in Utica MI
June 02, 2011 - I have a dwarf apple tree that bears 5-6 different kinds of apples. I am having trouble with insects; what is a good choice for this and feeding it? Is there also a organic choice?
view the full question and answer

Non-native Pride of Barbados from San Antonio
August 26, 2011 - I have some very successful wildly blooming "Dwarf Pride of Barbados" plants growing in my xeriscape garden. Each year I cut them back to the ground. I have just purchased a new variety called "...
view the full question and answer

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