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

Distance apart to plant oaks in Denton TX
August 26, 2009 - How far apart should I plant Pin Oaks and Shumard Red Oaks in our yard? All around us are native oaks, but our backyard has none. I want to create a "forest" that looks like they are native, but n...
view the full question and answer

Grafting Shumard Oak to Decrease Acorn Bearing Age in New Orleans
September 23, 2010 - Can a Shumard Oak that is bearing acorns (30 yrs. old)be grafted to a seedling in order to decrease the bearing of the tree in a similar manner as grafting pecan trees? Can it be propagated by any me...
view the full question and answer

Saving a 350-year old Live Oak
March 14, 2015 - I live in Jefferson Parish outside New Orleans. I have a large Live Oak tree that is over 350 years old and has been damaged by Katrina. I have contacted one arborist and they said that the tree is st...
view the full question and answer

Horse ate bark of cedar elm from Liberty Hill, TX
February 20, 2013 - I have three acres with a rental. Planted a Cedar Elm near the porch. My ex-renters allowed their horse to graze around the house. It ate the bark off of the tree. How can I save this tree?
view the full question and answer

Mediterranean Pines indigenous to Verde Valley AZ
January 01, 2012 - Are the tall, thin Mediterranean/Pencil Pines growing in the Verde Valley in Arizona indigenous to the area? They are so plentiful, but are not identified as an indigenous evergreen. If not, how did...
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