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
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

Thuja arborvitae not thriving in Austin
November 04, 2010 - I planted 5 giant thuja arborvitae two years ago. They have grown six inches and aren't doing that well. I live in Austin Texas and it was a hot summer. I water them 2x a week, now 1x a week. They a...
view the full question and answer

Cause of trees losing bark in Arkansas
December 27, 2011 - I live in very rural Arkansas and we did have extreme heat this past summer and since then I have noticed several trees in the woods that have lost huge strips of their bark and I was wondering if it ...
view the full question and answer

Nut tree for Florida
October 09, 2008 - Hi! I would like to plant a nut tree in Orlando, FL. What would you recommend?
view the full question and answer

Distance from wall to plant Eastern red cedar
September 26, 2008 - I want to plant a row of Eastern red cedar on the high side of a 2 to 2 1/2 ft large Pavestone block retaining wall, preferably as close to the wall as possible. We have put maybe 4-5" of gravel beh...
view the full question and answer

Problems with water oaks from Laurel MS
October 05, 2013 - The leaves on my mature water oak trees have been falling since the leaves matured. My area has had an abundance of rain this year, 11 inches above normal. All the trees in my area are doing the same....
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