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
Not Yet Rated

Monday - September 21, 2009

From: Fairfax, VA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Small native flowering tree for Virginia
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Could you recommend a small flowering tree (8-10' mature size) to plant in front garden next to the house. Full sun. Something that doesn't have invasive roots that would damage the house. Thanks Sheila

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants recommends that you go to our Recommended Species page and choose Virginia from the map or pulldown menu.  This will give you a list of native plants that are commercially available and are recommended for landscaping in Virginia.  You can use the NARROW YOUR SEARCH option to add your preferences for General Appearance, Light Requirement, Soil Moisture, etc.  Here are a few from that list that would meet your criteria pretty well:

Morella cerifera (wax myrtle)

Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark)

Robinia hispida (bristly locust)

Rhus glabra (smooth sumac)

Viburnum dentatum (southern arrowwood)

Here are a few that are a little taller than your stated preference:

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry)

Asimina triloba (pawpaw)

Prunus americana (American plum)

Ptelea trifoliata (common hoptree)

Sorbus americana (American mountain ash)

It will matter how close your tree is planted to your house as to whether or not the roots will harm your foundation.  You can read the recommendations from Iowa State University Extension Service for Sidewalks and Trees which bases the distance trees should be planted near pavement on the mature height of the tree. Their recommendations are:

1. trees with a mature height of less than 30 feet, 3-4 feet from pavement,
2. trees with a mature height of 30 to 50 feet, 5-6 feet from pavement,
3. trees with a mature height of greater than 50 feet, at least 8 feet from pavement.

You could consider installing some sort of root barrier between the tree and the foundation.  Here is more information about root barriers.


Morella cerifera

Elymus canadensis

Robinia hispida

Rhus glabra

Viburnum dentatum

Amelanchier canadensis

Asimina triloba

Prunus americana

Ptelea trifoliata

Sorbus americana

 

 

More Trees Questions

Removing Texas cedar Juniperus ashei from Blanco River banks
February 26, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Should cedar trees be removed from our Blanco River banks to prevent them from sucking too much of our precious water before it makes it into the river system? If so, what s...
view the full question and answer

Understory trees for large trees in Austin
October 18, 2010 - I'm blessed with some beautiful large live oaks, burr oaks, and cedar elms in my front yard in southwest Austin. I'd like to plant some understory trees among them. The trees would get dappled lig...
view the full question and answer

Insect attack on bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
May 30, 2008 - Something is attacking the bur oak that was planted in 2007. Insects are not on the leaves, but the edges of some leaves look chewed back. Others look brown around the edges. Do you have any idea w...
view the full question and answer

Is the orchid tree (Bauhinia lunarioides) poisonous to dogs?
September 26, 2008 - is the orchid tree (bauhinia) poisonous to dogs?
view the full question and answer

Native plants for clay soil in Lathrop MO
March 21, 2011 - My family just moved to the north Kansas City, MO area and would like to know what native species, both perennial and tree, will do best in the clay soil. It has already proven problematic as we have ...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center