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
1 rating

Sunday - January 18, 2009

From: Las Vegas, NV
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree to plant by pool replacing mulberry in Las Vegas
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am looking for a tree to plant between my house and pool. We just cut down a mulberry that was here due to its invasive root system. Are there any plants that can tolerate Vegas weather, provide a good shade canopy, and down drop loads of tiny leaves in to the pool?

ANSWER:

You're kidding, right? You don't really want something that's going to drop loads of leaves in your pool? There are two native mulberries, Morus microphylla (Texas mulberry) and Morus rubra (red mulberry). Regardless of whether it was native or not, you did the right thing to remove the tree. Whether it should be replaced by a new tree or not is another question. Roots of any tree and in-ground swimming pools are natural enemies, both for reasons you have already stated-invasive roots and messy leaf and fruit drop.  You didn't say how much distance between house and pool is involved. but consider this: If you move the tree away from the pool to protect the pool filters and appearance, the roots could very well interfere with the house foundation as well as walks, patios, etc. If you move it closer to the pool, you're right back where you started. Although a newly-planted tree would be small and not intrusive, it's going to grow. It won't be any good as a shade tree until it gets quite a bit bigger, an amount of time that depends on the speed with which the tree grows. And whether a tree is evergreen or deciduous, there is going to be constant shedding of dead leaves, little twigs, over-ripe fruit and your odd bird's nest. Although planting a tree might seem to be an inexpensive method to acquire shade, it will be a few years, at least, before you get the shade.

Although we will suggest some trees that are native to Nevada, we would urge you to consider alternatives, like a pavilion or patio cover for shade, using the the smaller trees for a softening effect. We have selected two smaller trees, more ornamental than shade trees, and two larger fast-growing trees. The majority of the larger trees suitable for shade are also known for surface roots which can buckle paving and interfere with other plantings. 

TREES

Cercis orbiculata (California redbud) - deciduous ornamental, blooms white, red, pink, purple March to May

Chilopsis linearis (desert willow) - deciduous, not actually related to true willows, white, pink, purple blooms April to September.

Fraxinus velutina (velvet ash) - deciduous shade tree, to 40 ft., fast-growing.

Pinus contorta (lodgepole pine) - evergreen, fast-growing, must be transplanted when small because of danger of damaging taproot.


Cercis orbiculata

Cercis orbiculata

Chilopsis linearis

Chilopsis linearis

Fraxinus velutina

Pinus contorta

Pinus contorta

 

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Removal of invasive horsetail in Shelby Township, MI
June 19, 2009 - Please help me or direct me to who may be able to help. I have horsetail (Equisetum) invading my Blue Rug Juniper. Please tell me what I can use to get rid of the horsetail (Equisetum) without killi...
view the full question and answer

Will catalpa roots damage a nearby swimming pool?
July 13, 2013 - Will a catalpa tree cause problems to my swimming pool? It is 8 feet away and I cut all the branches off every fall. It then grows back to about 6 feet in diameter an makes a great garden feature but ...
view the full question and answer

Need help identifying a tree with wintergreen-flavored bark that grew in my backyard during my youth in Cumberland, RI.
March 24, 2010 - Growing up in Cumberland, Rhode Island (a town in the northern part of the state) there was a tree in our backyard with thin, brown peel-able bark. The bark itself had white stripes. Under the layer o...
view the full question and answer

Trees for a privacy barrier
October 06, 2007 - What would you suggest to plant for a privacy barrier along a back fence in Austin Texas? They need to be hardy and atleast 10 to 12 feet tall to block my neighbor's second story view of my yard.
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

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