En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
2 ratings

Monday - August 04, 2008

From: Baltimore, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Deciduous tree with tap root
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a 13 foot space between two town houses and would like to plant a slender deciduous tree up to 30 feet in height with a tendency to tap root so as not to disturb the foundation of the houses. I love a Katsura but am worried about the shallow roots. What would you recommend?

ANSWER:

First of all, Mr. Smarty Plants wouldn't recommend a Katsura (Cercidiphyllum spp.) tree since it is native to Japan and China and not to North America and what we are all about at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes". However, we can recommend a few trees native to Maryland that have a tap root system that shouldn't interfere with your foundation.

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) has leaves that look much like the katsura tree and reaches 15 to 30 feet. It also has a root system that shouldn't harm your foundation.

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam) slow-growing, 35-50 feet. Here are more photos.

Juglans cinerea (butternut) fairly fast-growing, 40-60 feet. Here are photos.

Quercus stellata (post oak) slow-growing, 40-50 feet.

Carya alba (mockernut hickory) slow-growing, 50-60 feet. Here are more photos.


Cercis canadensis

Carpinus caroliniana

Quercus stellata

Carya alba

 



 



 

More Trees Questions

Is there a recommended list for Texas Eastern Cross Timbers?
August 29, 2011 - Is there a recommended list for Texas Eastern Cross Timbers?
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestion for a tree with a tap root in Oklahoma City, OK.
October 27, 2012 - I would like to know the best tree to plant in my area that does well. Would like a tap root tree and also a tree that will not mess with my septic lines. Thank you
view the full question and answer

Transplanting Desert willows in El Paso, TX
August 27, 2009 - We have some volunteer Desert Willows growing on an empty lot nearby. Can we dig them up and transplant them in the yard? If so, how? They are about 3-4 feet tall
view the full question and answer

Browning of Red Western cedars in Medina, OH
April 09, 2009 - I have a row of Red Western Cedars bordering my yard. One week after my lawn people but down spring fertilizer and grub control, they began turning brown. Is there any correlation? If not, what cau...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center