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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.

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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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Monday - July 16, 2012

From: Fredericksburg, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Need a shade tree for front yard in Fredricksburg, TX.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I live in Fredericksburg, Tx. I have a large front yard, but only one huge pecan tree in the front yard that is probably 18 years old. It shades half the yard. I want to plant another shade tree for the other half of my yard.a tree that does not produce fruit, is heat tollerant and spreads out wide for shade. Is this what they refer to as mushroom crown tree? What do you suggest I plant? Watering the tree is not a problem.

ANSWER:

Producing fruit is what most trees do, unless of course  you have a staminate (male) tree of a dioecious species. Otherwise, you need to select a tree with small, un-obnoxious fruit.

This article from the US Forest Service talks about the shapes of trees (scroll down to “Characteristic Shapes of Trees” about 3/4 of the way to the end). Your new tree could have a mushroom shaped crown, but that will be influenced by its interaction with the pecan tree.

For tree selection, I’m going to recommend the Texas Tree Planting Guide. This is an interactive web site from the Texas Forest Service that helps you pick trees based on your location, size of tree you want, and growing conditions. The simplest path is to use the “Express Tree Selector”. Answer the two questions , click on “view the best trees to plant” and you will get four reasonable choices. Check on the sizes and growth requirements to see which tree is best for you. By changing your search parameters, or using the "Custom Tree Selector", you can get other recommendations.

Here is a link to a previous answer that can also prove helpful.

 

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