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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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Thursday - April 11, 2013

From: New Waverly, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fast growing shade tree for East Texas Piney Woods
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

What is the fastest growing shade tree for E.Tx.Piney Woods? We have an area that desperately needs protection from the summer heat. The site is comprised of gumbo clay and there are no other plants to compete.

ANSWER:

Here are a list of trees to consider for a shade tree for the East Texas Piney Woods.  All the trees listed are native to Walker County or an adjacent county, have a rapid growth rate and are classified as large (more than 40 feet high).  Check the GROWING CONDITIONS on the species page in our Native Plant Database to determine if they are compatible with your site.  I've also linked each species to two other sites for more information about the tree to help you with your decision.  Also, you should check in the area for trees that are growing well in your vicinity to help you with your choice.  The first two trees, loblolly pine and American sycamore, are probably the fastest growing on the list.

Pinus taeda (Loblolly pine) is evergreen.   Here is more information from Texas Tree Planting Guide and from the US Forest Service.

Platanus occidentalis (American sycamore) is deciduous.  Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and University of Missouri Extension.

Ulmus americana (American elm) is deciduous.  Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and from Midwest Gardening.

Acer rubrum (Red maple) is deciduous.  Here is more infromation from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and University of Missouri Extension.

Quercus virginiana (Coastal live oak) is evergreen.  Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and from Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce.

Quercus shumardii (Shumard oak) is deciduous.   Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and from the US Forest Service.

Quercus nigra (Water oak) is deciduous.   Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and the US Forest Service.

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (Green ash) is deciduous.  Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and University of Missouri Extension.

Fraxinus americana (White ash) is deciduous.  Here is more information Texas Tree Planting Guide and University of Missouri Extension.

Betula nigra (River birch) is deciduous.   Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and University of Missouri Extension.

Liquidambar styraciflua (Sweetgum) is deciduous.  Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and University of Missouri Extension.

Gleditsia triacanthos (Honey locust) is deciduous.  Here is more information from the Texas Tree Planting Guide and University of Missouri Extension.

 

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