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

What is causing leaf drop on oak in Morgan Hill CA?
June 23, 2010 - Dear Mr Smarty Plants: We have a large, young Valley Oak (about 20 yrs) which is dropping leaves even now in early summer. I have a feeling that the problem might be an invasive weed that is flourishi...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Live Oak in Boerne TX
April 24, 2011 - I had my large Live Oak trimmed last year. This spring there seems to be a problem with leaf growth. Most leaves are small in nature and appear to have been attacked possibly by bugs. Many of the bran...
view the full question and answer

Tree to plant on rocky soil in San Antonio
March 10, 2012 - I want to plant a tree in a particular spot in the yard but after digging down 10 inches I hit solid rock. I filled the hole with water and it took hours for it to go down. It is one of the higher e...
view the full question and answer

Leaves on Spanish oaks in Hays County TX dying
April 18, 2009 - I have many Spanish Oaks on my Hays County property. The leaves started blooming last week, but this week all the young leaves are brown and appear to be dying. This is happening to all the otherwise ...
view the full question and answer

Tx Mt. Laurel and Mex. Buckeye seed propagation in drought
July 01, 2011 - I live in the Hill Country near New Braunfels. Since I am only at my house in July and August, I would like to plant both Texas Mountain Laurel and Mexican Buckeye from the seeds harvested from mothe...
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