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
1 rating

Friday - January 07, 2011

From: Sun City West , AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree options for patio in Sun City West, Arizona.
Answered by: Leslie Uppinghouse

QUESTION:

We have an area near our cement patio in Sun City West AZ where we would like to plant a shade tree. We planted a sissoo tree, but were told that the roots will damage the patio because of the proximity. Should we be concerned and if so what would work best with the least mess and maintenance?

ANSWER:

You have a couple of options for trees that would be safe next to a patio. Small understory trees under 20' would be one way to go. A few to consider would be a Ptelea trifoliata (Wafer ash)Ilex decidua (Possumhaw), or the Cercis orbiculata (California redbud). Although these trees are pretty and could offer you some shade in the summer months, they are deciduous, meaning they would lose their leaves over winter.

If you are looking for a larger tree, depending on where you are placing the tree, a Quercus emoryi (Emory oak) would maybe work. In Arizona you don't have a lot of water and the soil doesn't have much organic matter to work with. This helps keep the root system under control. As long as the spot you are looking at is a couple of feet off of the patio and not a cut out inside the patio you should be ok. If you notice, you may see Oaks along streets and sidewalks in your area. If you find a big shade tree along a street with no root damage to the sidewalk you can consider that tree a good option. It doesn't hurt to check out parks and schools in your area for ideas.

If you are really nervous about the patio and just want to play it safe, you can't go wrong with a mesquite. Prosopis glandulosa (Honey mesquite) works for your area. You might also try Prosopis glandulosa Maverick ™ which is a naturally-occurring thornless selection for Bexar County (San Antonio, TX) and should work for Arizona as well.


Prosopis glandulosa


Cercis orbiculata


Quercus emoryi

 

 

More Trees Questions

Photographing and Identifying trees of Long Island
June 01, 2013 - After being in a car accident I got into photography as sports are a distant memory due to my injuries. As a new hobby I thought of taking pictures of trees and then finding out their species name. ...
view the full question and answer

Is black olive (Bucida buchera) toxic to people or dogs?
June 02, 2009 - We have what we think is a black olive tree growing in our front yard, which I keep trimmed to about 4 feet high. A bird dropped the seedling in my garden, so I'm not quite sure it's a black olive,...
view the full question and answer

Is a wasp colony in hollow in my oak tree harming it?
November 26, 2013 - I have wasps colonizing a hollow portion of a live oak here in my backyard in Austin ten feet from my backdoor. They are yellow and black banded, maybe an inch long. Two questions: 1. Are they hurt...
view the full question and answer

Tall, narrow evergreen for front of house in Flower Mound, TX
June 21, 2009 - Please recommend a tall, narrow evergreen to be placed at the front corner of my house.
view the full question and answer

Lack of fruit on Texas persimmon
July 08, 2008 - I have several Texas Persimmons on my property, most have nodules covering most of the leaves that I am presuming to be insect eggs. Between my neighbor and I we have over a dozen of these tress grow...
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