welcome to the organic green doctor blog

i am a family physician who was diagnosed with
early mild cognitive impairment(mci) amnestic type on december 21, 2010
this is a precursor to alzheimers disease
because of this diagnosis i have opted to stop practicing medicine
this blog will be about my journey with this disease
please feel free to follow me along this path
i will continue blogging on organic gardening, green living,
solar power, rainwater collection, and healthy living
i will blog on these plus other things noted to be interesting

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

bad plants-the natives are best

im always being asked about what plants to buy
and plant in the yard
around this area there are some bad plants to plant here

a friend had a tree blown down in a storm
it was a large tree about 2-3 feet in diameter at its base

it when it was around provided good shade for the house
and the property
if you look around her neighborhood you see all these trees
big trees that are dead or have lost most of their limbs
or have left a rotting tree trunk after someone or nature
had taken it down

her tree was an arizona ash
planted probably when the house was built
it was a cheap tree that grew fast and looked good for
a few years then now its gone
i call it the arizona trash tree

so my wife she and i decided to plant a new tree to replace
the old one as a christmas present

she had several cedar elm trees a good native tree
that does well here in her back and side yards

the best shade tree in central texas is  an oak
the live oak is the best but there is some problem with
oak wilt in this area
where i live its rampant and i would never plant one in my yard
here because i know that one day the wilt would get it

so no live oak for her

the red oak is a pretty tree especially in the fall
but it has some susceptibility to oak wilt also
so scratch that one

the lacey oak is a pretty oak but it tends to not get as
big as what she needed in her yard

she needed one that would get large to shade the south and western
side of her house

the choices were down to
burr oak vs white oak or mexican white oak

the burr oak gets larger to 60-80 ft tall
has large i mean large acorns
it loses its leaves which are large in the winter
it grows fast

the white oak or mexican white oak grows to 40-60 ft tall
it has smaller acorns like a live oak
it like the live oak keeps its leaves but does shed some
it grows fast but not as much as the burr oak
its a pretty tree all year round

both are oak wilt resistant

we chose the burr oak for her
it will shade the house in the summer  and will provide
a good shade for the house and will
lose its leaves in the winter to provide sun onto
the house to help warm it

it will increase the value of the property as this tree will be
there unless someone cuts it down when her great great grandkids
are born

then a friend called us
he found these two plants to plant in his yard
they are bushes and are evergreen and look good in the yard
so he was told

the two  plants are on what i call the trash tree bush list
like the arizona ash

they were the wax ligustrum
it is invasive
it is a real problem in wooded areas especially some of the
natural preserves where it will almost take over an area
dont plant them
i dont
i find them frequently here at the coutnry n and i cut them down

the other plant is the red tip photinia
its a pretty tree in the landscape
it is highly susceptible to diseases

i know at a previous house we had a line of them
half looked good and the other half hardly had any leaves

there are good native plants that can be substituted for these

here is a link to find what to plant and what not to plant
in central texas
this booklet is free at most nurseries in the area

in my landscape i only plant good natives that are xeric
once established they are on their on
even through the driest november ever
even through the worst drought in 100 years here they are doing

the organicgreen doctor


  1. Isamu Taniguchi, who built the Oriental Garden at Zilker Park, was Austin's unofficial arborist for many years. He thought hackberry trees were a waste of space, and actually destructive because they took so much water, His slogan was, "HOPI! Hackberry out, pecan in!"
    I'm pretty sure hackberry is a native, but have you ever heard of anyone actually planting one? I haven't. (I'm just curious.)

    1. would not recommend planting it in town in the landscape as it is shortlived and produces a lot of limbs that break frequently
      in the country where i live i let the hackberries grow if they are growing in my pastures
      they are native and produce a good food source for multiple birds
      the birds plant them for me

  2. I am the luckiest person in the world to have friends like you. My tree is a Charlie Brown Christmas tree now. As Charlie Brown says, "All it needs is a little love." It will get lots of it, knowing who planted it.

    Cowgurl friend

    1. it will be there on the property for future generations to enjoy also
      merry christmas