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

Sunday - September 13, 2009

From: Wilmingfton, DE
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shade tree for cemetery in Wilmington DE
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are looking for a shade tree for a cemetery in Delaware. The tree will be planted only a few feet from some existing gravesites. What trees would you recommend that will not interfere with the gravesites?

ANSWER:

"Shade tree" infers a large, spreading tree, but what you don't see is that the roots of that tree will spread to possibly three times the diameter of the top of the tree. When you look at a mature tree and see its "dripline" or where the shadow of the tree falls, envision roots going on three times that diameter. There are several types of trees that begin with a taproot, but develop surface roots, where most of the nutrients and moisture are as the tree matures. The majority of tree roots are in the top 12" of the soil and, in their quest for space, will often form a mat of roots close to the surface. When you are planning a new property, you can allow for the mature size of the tree, and place structures accordingly. But when you have a fixed area in which those trees can be planted, your best (perhaps your only) choice is for a smaller ornamental tree. We are going to go to our Recommended Species section, and search for trees native not only to Delaware, but to New Castle Co. Since you did not say what the soil, moisture availability or amount of sun you have, we will select several different trees you might consider. Follow the plant links to the webpage on each individual tree, read its expected size and needs to flourish. From that, you can make your own choices, or go back to the Recommended Species and select other trees that suit your purposes better. In Delaware, this is probably the time to be planting, before cold weather sets in, or you could wait for Spring. In either case, arrangements should be made for the trees to be regularly watered until they are established, unless there are consistent rains.

Trees native to Delaware for a cemetery

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam)

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud)

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree)

Fraxinus pennsylvanica (green ash)

Diospyros virginiana (common persimmon)

Ilex opaca (American holly)

Prunus americana (American plum)

Sassafras albidum (sassafras)

From the Native Plant Image Gallery


Carpinus caroliniana

Cercis canadensis

Chionanthus virginicus

Fraxinus pennsylvanica

Diospyros virginiana

Ilex opaca

Prunus americana

Sassafras albidum

 

 

 

 

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Large shrub for screen in shade
June 11, 2008 - I am trying to find some large shrubs that will thrive in shade in the north Texas climate. This area will receive very little light during the day but need to grow quite large to hide a fence and cr...
view the full question and answer

Shade trees with a tap root
July 31, 2009 - I need a list of shade trees with a tap root system. I would also like the tree to grow at a medium to fast rate. I will be planting near a concrete wall and do not want the roots to do any damage to ...
view the full question and answer

Groundcovers & Shrubs for Shade in North Carolina
April 30, 2013 - Mr Smarty Pants, My neighbor planted cypress trees as a border between his yard and ours and it is sucking up every drop of water and nutrient. We also have a purple plum in the area which creates ...
view the full question and answer

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
view the full question and answer

Groundcover for shade in Paris, Texas
November 02, 2009 - I have a south exposure with 2 large sycamore trees. Noon sun in patches and mainly dappled shade but not dense. I'm consideering planting asian ivy. The soil is "sandy loam" but it's very sand...
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