Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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 - November 16, 2009

From: Columbia, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Small tree for yard in Columbia TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a somewhat small yard but the construction workers put a water and sewer drain in the middle of my yard. The sewer main is located on the far side of my property my width of yard is 60 feet width from street to house is 27 feet. I want a low root system tree to plant. I don't want a big tree(over 30ft). What type of tree should I get?

ANSWER:

The fact that you are looking for a small tree makes this much easier. The extent that roots go out from a tree often is comparable to the width of the canopy. Obviously, you want to get as far from both the drain and the main when you plant the tree, but don't ignore  possible problems, like driveways, sidewalks, foundations or curbs. Your tree could cause just as much trouble getting involved with those hardscapes as it could with the drain. We are not too good at visualizing, but it sounds like, if there are no other restraining factors, you could plant a tree about 14 ft. from from the drain, and position it halfway to the property line opposite the main. Another good thing about these four suggested trees is that they all have nice blooms, and all are native to Tennessee and near to Maury County, in Central Tennessee. For more possibilities, you can go to our Native Plant Database, and narrow your search by clicking on Tennessee and then "tree" under General Appearance. By reading the page from our database on each plant, you can learn what its growth characteristics are, what sunlight requirements it has,and how much moisture it needs.

Small trees for Columbia, TN:

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) - 15 to 30 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms pink March to May, low water use, part shade or shade

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree) - 15 to 30 ft., deciduous, blooms white April and May, high water use, part shade

Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay) - 12 to 20 ft. tall, evergreen in the South, blooms white April to July, high water use, part shade

Prunus americana (American plum) - to 35 ft. tall, deciduous, medium water use, sun, part shade or shade

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cercis canadensis

Chionanthus virginicus

Magnolia virginiana

Prunus americana

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Are baldcypress trees (Taxodium distichum) self-fertile
March 06, 2011 - We are considering planting a bald cypress in a grassy children's play area that has fair amount of clay in the soil and receives a good amount of rain water from an adjacent slope. This seems a good...
view the full question and answer

red maple bark damage by squirrels
April 15, 2011 - We have two acres of land, largely covered by various oaks and cherry laurels -and, after many hours of cutting down chinese tallow trees..finally some red maples. Our problem is that we also have a s...
view the full question and answer

Is oak leucanium an invasive species in Texas from Laredo TX
April 02, 2013 - Is Parthenolecanium quercifex considered an invasive species in Texas? Does this insect attach itself to redbuds? I spotted and removed from my small 5ft Texas Redbud last year. It seems that it has ...
view the full question and answer

Japanese maple in New York
August 15, 2008 - I have a few questions: Do you know what zone Brooklyn, NY. is in? If I plant a Japanese Maple in my backyard, do you think it can tolerate almost full shade (1-2 hours of sun per day)? Also, is it...
view the full question and answer

Shumard Oak failing to leaf out in Pflugerville TX
March 27, 2010 - I planted a five gallon container grown Shumard Red Oak late last October and so far this spring there is no sign of any leaves on the tree. The branches are not brittle so I don't think that the tre...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.