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 - September 16, 2007

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Trees
Title: Flashing barrier to Bermuda in tree bed
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I'm building a 6-ft-diameter planting bed on a gentle slope on blackland clay, at the center of which I plan to install a cedar elm. I'm using the wedge-shaped stones from the home-improvement store and plan to raise the soil a couple of inches and level it inside the bed. I have also installed 10" flashing inside the perimeter in hopes of impeding the evil bermuda, but now I am wondering if that will also impede the roots of my tree and cause them to circle. Should I remove the flashing and fight the grass some other way? The flashing would be 3 feet away from the trunk in any direction.

ANSWER:

The flashing, especially 3 feet away from the roots of the Ulmus crassifolia (cedar elm), should not cause any problems with the tree roots. After all, when you see the damage that is wreaked by tree roots on sidewalks, foundations, sewer lines, etc., why should a little piece of metal bother it? Actually, the only time you have to worry about roots circling is when the plant stays in a confining pot too long. If you purchase the tree in a pot, be sure and check before the tree goes in the ground. If, indeed, the roots are circling or "girdling", do some root clipping (and you can be pretty ruthless) to force the roots to spread. By the time the roots get to your metal flashing, they will be perfectly able to dive under and continue their progress. And, sorry, but it's doubtful that the flashing is going to be much of a deterrent to the Bermuda grass, either. With above-ground stolons and below-ground rhizomes questing for fresh territory, it's tough to block out. But, hey, anything is worth a shot, and your idea seems sound. If it works, let us know.

 

More Trees Questions

Will deer eat lemon cypress trees from Hayden ID
June 02, 2012 - Do deer eat lemon cypress trees? We do not think so since they are so spiny, but wanted a clarification.
view the full question and answer

Identity of a plant that may be a horse apple (Maclura) in Springtown, TX.
July 21, 2009 - I have a tree that I think is a crab apple, however, I can't find it in any collection on internet. The fruit looks like light green colored apples, however, they are very hard and very course textu...
view the full question and answer

Disease or insect damage on a Mexican plum
September 08, 2013 - Help, Our Mexican plum tree is about 13-14 years old. Earlier this year we noticed the trunk is oozing black stuff and whole branches are dying off. We have watched as our beloved tree has lost most ...
view the full question and answer

Sticky white substance from Arizona Ash tree in Arlington TX
June 11, 2009 - Our Arizona Ash Tree is producing a white substance that floats down from the tree almost like a snowflake the size of a bb. You cannot see it on the tree/leaves. When it lands on the car, it takes th...
view the full question and answer

Possibility of Colorado Blue Spruce tree in Boerne TX
November 11, 2009 - Is it possible to plant Colorado Blue Spruce trees in the Boerne, Texas area?
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center