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

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

Care of huisache tree (Acacia farnesiana)
September 25, 2007 - I bought a huisache tree, about one ft. tall, last spring. How do I prune, stake, and care for it as it grows? Do they usually bloom in Brownwood, Tx ?
view the full question and answer

Wrapping a newly planted non-native Japanese maple from Fraser MI
October 01, 2013 - Does a newly planted Japanese maple need to be wrapped in burlap for the cold and snowy winter of Macomb County, Michigan?
view the full question and answer

Existing live oak taking over in Monahans TX
March 22, 2011 - I have just purchased a home with a huge Live Oak tree in the front yard. The previous owners have over the years allowed the sucker roots to grow unchecked. The tree is shading most of the lawn (di...
view the full question and answer

Time for trimming oaks from Boerne TX
July 03, 2012 - I want to trim a native red oak but am scared to touch it because I dont want to lose it. It is the primary source of shade in our back yard. Also I want to trim the live oaks and am surrounded with O...
view the full question and answer

Is the palm tree a true tree?
December 18, 2008 - Hello, There has been constant debate here about the Palm Tree. I'm in Las Vegas and I have heard everything from it not being a true tree but a cacti or a giant thistle?! I've tried to research...
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