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
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - April 23, 2009

From: San Antonio, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Suitability of Monterrey oaks for small space in San Antonio
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am purchasing a home and the existing owners have planted three Monterrey oaks in the back. It is a small yard and the trees are no more than 15 feet from the house.The trees back up to a fence that separates the neighbors yard. Are these trees suitable for that amount of space? Will I have to remove them?

ANSWER:

We hate to suggest removing any native tree in Texas, and Quercus polymorpha (netleaf white oak) is a good West Texas tree, semi-evergreen to evergreen in San Antonio. It is more resistant to oak wilt than some other oaks. Fifteen feet from your foundation is probably far enough to avoid any serious conflict between roots and foundation. The tree can grow up to heights of 80 Ft. and spreading 60 ft. wide. But, hey, that could take 50 years-how long are you planning to stay in that house? Oaks grow at a moderate speed, and the shade, privacy and appearance of the tree would seem to be well worth preserving. Having said that, you need to be aware you're probably not going to have much luck growing anything under them, but you can always cover the ground where nothing will grow with a good quality shredded hardwood mulch, which will hold in moisture and protect the roots from heat, as well as aid in the drainage and nutrition of the soil.

The next question, of course, is how does this affect your neighbors? You might want to check to see if spreading roots will interfere with hardscape in their yards, or if they like having the trees there, too.


Quercus polymorpha

 


Quercus polymorpha

Quercus polymorpha
 

More Trees Questions

Photographing and Identifying trees of Long Island
June 01, 2013 - After being in a car accident I got into photography as sports are a distant memory due to my injuries. As a new hobby I thought of taking pictures of trees and then finding out their species name. ...
view the full question and answer

A good Amelanchier (Serviceberry) for Brooklyn, NY.
November 03, 2015 - I am looking to purchase an Amelanchier to plant in Brooklyn this month. Would you know which variety works best in a small garden and also is it too late to plant. Mainly, I am looking for someone wh...
view the full question and answer

Canadian Marine West Coast Plants
December 15, 2011 - What type of plants are found in the Canadian marine west coast climate?
view the full question and answer

Thoughts on non-native Italian Cypress in Austin
January 01, 2014 - I would like to know your thoughts on growing Italian Cypress trees in Austin Texas? We are looking to create a privacy screen(and prepared to pay more for mature trees to cut down the wait to grow...
view the full question and answer

Leaves falling off live oak tree in Eureka TX
August 22, 2009 - I have the same question; it is in Navarro County in August. The leaves are falling off my live oak tree, they are brownish yellow, but it is not oak wilt. What might it be? This year I put mulch arou...
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 | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center