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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


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?


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

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