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
1 rating

Sunday - July 24, 2011

From: Burleson, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Trees
Title: Yard Trees for Burleson, TX
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

We need to replace 2 mature pear trees in our front yard, north side of the house in Burleson, TX. We are looking for faster growing trees that will last for decades that resist disease in clay soil. The area is roughly 30'x 50'. What is our best choice and is there a problem replanting where the pears are currently? The pears were so dense the grass has died back with lack of sun so we would like a less dense tree that will add curb appeal.

ANSWER:

What Mr Smarty Plants likes to do is recommend that you check out the recommended species list for North Central Texas.  You can sort through the list- so you can select trees of the height you prefer and start to consider options.  I found 13 trees when I looked for those in the 36 to 72 ft. height.

Unfortunately, "faster-growing" and "last for decades" are slightly contradictory.  Some fast growing options are Acer negundo (Ash-leaf maple) and Ulmus crassifolia (Cedar elm)

Some Oaks also grow relatively fast.  Quercus muehlenbergii (Chinkapin oak) and Quercus texana (Nuttall oak) are quite attractive, Quercus texana (Nuttall oak) may do better in your clay soil.  If you are willing to wait for your tree, magnificent varieties such as Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) and Carya illinoinensis (Pecan) do well in your region, but are probably a bit tall for a yard the size of yours. 

 Is there a problem planting them where the pears are currently?  Well, a little.  Are the pears still there?  If so, the roots will continue to compete for water for some time.  Make sure you remove the stumps and, if you can, you will want to start your new trees outside of their existing dripline, just to minimize the competition.  Similarly, you noted you want a less dense tree with better curb appeal.  All of those recommended above will produce a very attractive tree.  You can improve density and curb appeal by judicious pruning and raising the canopy when it is mature enough.

 

From the Image Gallery


Box elder
Acer negundo

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

Cedar elm
Ulmus crassifolia

Chinkapin oak
Quercus muehlenbergii

American sycamore
Platanus occidentalis

More Non-Natives Questions

Competition between Horseherb and Chickweed
July 04, 2014 - Ok, sorry I did it wrong the 1st time!? I live in Houston, and I have chickens! I also have mass amounts of Horseherb, and I want to buy some chickweed seeds and plant it for my chickens! My question ...
view the full question and answer

Question about non-native tree hardiness
March 06, 2009 - Hi there, im wondering if you can help me. Which of these plants can grow on poorly drained soils. Tamarix Tetandra, weigela 'moulin rogue', ulex europaeus or salix alba?
view the full question and answer

Care of a sedum indoors
December 16, 2007 - I have a coworker who has trusted her Sedum Burrito plant into my care because it is not doing well in her office. It appears to need repotting, as it is very crowded in the pot it came in and is dif...
view the full question and answer

Plectranthus (native of South Africa) winter care and insects
September 26, 2007 - I was recently given a beautiful plant which is now in a pot in my yard. I live in Rochester, NY and need to know what to do with this plant in the fall. The plant is 'Mona Lavender' Plectranthus p...
view the full question and answer

Dog-proof grass from The Woodlands TX
April 26, 2013 - I am looking for a hardy grass that can tolerate female dogs urine. Zoysia was suggested but I am concerned about it being invasive. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

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