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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 - June 23, 2008

From: Knoxville, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants, Planting, Trees
Title: Taproot tree to replace willows by pool
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Installing Pool with bomanite decking all around it. We're in process of cutting down 18 year old Weeping Willow due to root invasiveness and small messy leaves. Can you recommend a good shade tree with tap root to put in place of Willow? I've planted Thuja Green Giant trees to form a screen at the back of the lot, but they are far from the pool. I also considered more Thujas, but want something with a canopy to create shade garden. Entire yard is full-sun until new trees grow.

ANSWER:

Nut trees in the Family Juglandaceae, oaks and conifers all have tap roots. Unfortunately, the evergreen conifers don't form good single canopies for shade. The other trees do make good canopies but have the disadvantage of shedding fruits (nuts and acorns) and leaves. Here are some recommendations for Tennessee natives that will make nice shade trees:

Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak)

Quercus muehlenbergii (chinkapin oak)

Carya illinoinensis (pecan)

Juglans nigra (black walnut)

Carya alba (mockernut hickory)


Quercus macrocarpa

Quercus muehlenbergii

Carya illinoinensis

Juglans nigra

Carya alba

 

 

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