Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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
1 rating

Sunday - August 24, 2008

From: Costa Mesa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree with tap root for small area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I'm looking for a tree with a tap root to plant for shade on the side of my patio. i have about a 4 foot area to plant in and it's 8 feet to my neighbors house. ..maybe something that gets to be about 20 feet tall and obviously not spreading roots due to proximity of house and patio. The ones I have researched with tap roots are white oak, hickory, walnut butternut, hornbeam and pecan. Will any of these grow in my Zone??? What, in your opinion, would be the best of these or do I have other choices w/a tap root. Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:

Hickorys, butternuts, hornbeams and pecans would not be suitable for your area since they are not native there. However, here are several small trees that do have tap roots and could work for your small space. Note that both of the oaks have a taller maximum height than you wanted, but they are slow growing.

Celtis laevigata var. reticulata (netleaf hackberry)

Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood)

Juglans californica (Southern California walnut) and photos

Prosopis pubescens (screwbean mesquite)

Prosopis velutina (velvet mesquite)

Umbellularia californica (California laurel)

Quercus agrifolia (California live oak)

Quercus garryana (Oregon white oak) and photos


Celtis laevigata var. reticulata

Cornus nuttallii

Prosopis pubescens

Prosopis velutina

Umbellularia californica

Quercus agrifolia

 

 

More Trees Questions

Juniper as host of cedar-apple rust
July 17, 2007 - Thanks for the helpful advice on the Eastern Red Cedar. I was wondering if you could ease my mind about a potential problem. I have read up on some of the native plants in my area in a very good book ...
view the full question and answer

Red oak (Quercus shumardii or Q. buckleyi) for small yard.
December 13, 2007 - Hello, I want to plant a red oak but my yard is not large. I'm looking for a red oak that is medium size in width. The height is not so much of a concern. From what I've read, the Shumard is m...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting hackberry trees in Texas
September 17, 2008 - I live N of Ft Worth,Tx is there a trick to digging up & transplanting hackberry trees?
view the full question and answer

Southern Magnolia Damaged by Deer
April 16, 2015 - I have a young Southern Magnolia (about 6 feet tall) that was damaged by deer on the main trunk. The bottom 2 feet looks okay, but where they damaged it and tore branches off, and above that, the leav...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Quercus texana (Nuttall oak) in Alabama
March 12, 2014 - I have a 3" diameter Nuttall Oak that the builder planted when building the house. Last summer I noticed that several spots on the trunk were oozing sap (vertical approximately 1.5" long by 0.5" wi...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.