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

Sunday - August 22, 2010

From: Lewisville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Distance for Escarpment oak to house from Lewisville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am planting an Escarpment Live Oak about 15' from my house. Thats as far away as I can plant it. Will this be a safe distance? How large will it be in 20 years?

ANSWER:

When you say you "are planting" Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak), please  tell us you are not planting it now, in the August furnace of Texas. Apparently, it is being planted as far north in Texas as Denton County, not just on the Escarpment of Texas, for which it is named. Also, we hope you have not already purchased it and have it sitting in a black plastic pot waiting to be planted. If so, it's roots are probably fried.  Woody plants should be planted in late Fall or Winter in Texas, when they are somewhat dormant.

Much as we love this oak, we want to try and discourage you from planting it in the residential setting you have indicated. In the first place, this tree, although relatively slow-growing, will mature to about 50 ft. in both height and width.  The roots beneath the soil can reach up to two to three times the size of the crown of the tree.  15 ft. is not nearly far enough. Take a look at these pictures from the University of Texas Archive of Central Texas Plants.  Probably these are older than 20 years, but nevertheless, sooner or later, either the tree or the house will have to go, not to mention the house next door. 

Another thing we would like to mention is Oak Wilt, to which Quercus fusiformis (plateau oak) is extremely susceptible. If you look at this  Texas Oak Wilt Partnership site, you will see that Oak Wilt is present in North Texas and is very difficult to deal with.

If, as we said, you have not already committed to the planting of the tree, we would suggest a smaller tree more suited to a residential situation, and not as likely to contract a deadly disease. 

 

More Trees Questions

Pruning tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera)
June 05, 2009 - Thank you for your answer regarding when my tulip tree will flower. I also understand it can/will grow to over 100 feet so should we be pruning it a certain way to keep it contained? thank you
view the full question and answer

Possibility of Colorado Blue Spruce tree in Boerne TX
November 11, 2009 - Is it possible to plant Colorado Blue Spruce trees in the Boerne, Texas area?
view the full question and answer

Annuals victims of allelopathy under a hackberry tree in Franklin TN
August 03, 2009 - In our new home's back yard we have a 30' hackberry tree that's less than 20' from our house, on the NW side. I planted your typical shade annuals, impatiens, etc., in the mulch bed under the tre...
view the full question and answer

Trees and other plants for privacy along lake shoreline
March 09, 2013 - We are purchasing a new home that has a 2 acre lake. We would like to add some plants/trees for privacy around the shore line. Can you suggest something that would fill in nicely and is strong enoug...
view the full question and answer

Fast growing shade tree for East Texas Piney Woods
April 11, 2013 - What is the fastest growing shade tree for E.Tx.Piney Woods? We have an area that desperately needs protection from the summer heat. The site is comprised of gumbo clay and there are no other plants t...
view the full question and answer

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