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
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

Yellowing foliage on a lemon cypress from St. Charles MO
May 22, 2011 - I recently received a lemon cypress tree as a gift. After about a month we transplanted it outside and the foliage turned from a light green to a yellow color. Is this normal? The tree doesn't app...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Live Oak trees to limit height.
June 08, 2015 - I notice many of my neighbors here in Katy (Fort Bend county) would have landscapers cut the lower limbs/branches of the live oak trees in their front yards, and the trees naturally keep getting talle...
view the full question and answer

Leaf problems on oaks in North Liberty IA
June 12, 2010 - My oak trees (young and old) are showing leaf problems. Is there a disease or insect causing oak tree disease?
view the full question and answer

What are the native fruit-bearing plants in North America?
February 16, 2010 - What are the native fruit-bearing plants in North America?
view the full question and answer

Theory for live oak shoots from Austin
August 25, 2011 - More on preventing suckers from coming up around live oaks in Austin. I too have been puzzled - why some live oaks have shoots, and not others. Posting here says different varieties have suckers. ...
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