En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - July 13, 2014

From: Coquitlam, near Vancouver, BC
Region: Select Region
Topic: Shrubs, Trees
Title: Trees Planted Over Underground Parking Garage
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

I live in an apartment complex. We have trees planted over an underground parking lot. I know the names of all the trees and I want to know how much soil they should be planted in to NOT cause damage to the garage. We have 14 Golden Locust 'Robina Frisia' (20' tap root ??) planted in soil that's 1 ft. deep. Will the roots break into the top of the garage? A Liquidambar (60' H X 40' W) planted 3 feet from an apartment. 12 Himalayan birch, Betula jacquemontii, 3 Cedrus deodora, 18 Picea omorika, 12 Pinus thunbergii, plus 11 more varieties, vine & red maple, Nootka False Cypress, 2 dogwood varieties, Dove tree, Magnolias, 31 flowering cherries, and 9 Snowbell. Is there a list of tree root habits that I can look up to see what trees need to be removed, if any? Thank you so much, Elaine (landscape rep.)

ANSWER:

It's wonderful that you are taking an active interest in the landscape plants around your apartment complex. Although many that you list are not natives, you have included a few natives that will be present in the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database. There are growth characteristics and cultural recommendations in the database that may help you with your search for tree root information.

For specific answers about the underground activity of the trees and the load bearing weight limits of the parking structure, it is advised to contact a landscape architect and a structural engineer in Coquitlam, B.C. that specialize in rooftop gardens. They would have the best knowledge to advise on your situation.

A book that will have some of the information you desire is "Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: A Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers" by Gary L. Hightshoe. It is quite good about giving specific information about each native plant.

 

From the Image Gallery


Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua

Sweetgum
Liquidambar styraciflua

Red maple
Acer rubrum

More Trees Questions

Need help for my Texas Persimmon in Leander, TX.
June 03, 2015 - Help!! My Texas Persimmon is distressed with either bugs or infection. I'm not sure what to do. I wanted to insert a picture here, but wasn't able to. If there's a way for me to submit a picture...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Savannah holly from Livingston TX
October 05, 2013 - Our Savannah Holly standards, planted in spring 2012, are now 10' tall, with 2-3" caliper trunks at the base. Some are in decline or have died. We thought the ribbons holding them to the nursery's ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native weeping willow from Hazlet NJ
July 03, 2013 - Leaves turning yellow on weeping willow planted in May. What causes this and how can I fix it? Mother's Day gift after SANDY uprooted huge tree.
view the full question and answer

Stressed Texas persimmon, Diospyros texana
September 12, 2009 - I planted a 5' Texas Persimmon last May..it is watered by drip irrigation and has done well, putting on lots of new leaves and looking healthy as can be. That is, until several days ago when it began...
view the full question and answer

Suffering Yaupon in Austin
July 14, 2012 - I am in the Austin area and I planted a Pride of Houston Yaupon in my back yard in March. It is in full sun. Lately the leaves have been turning pale green and now they fall off the tree upon touchi...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center