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

Sunday - April 24, 2011

From: Lake City, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Shade Tolerant
Title: Shade tree with no roots to interfere with patio in Lake City FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a 4x4 area surrounded by cement patio but would like a tree for shade that does not have roots that will mess up the slab.

ANSWER:

From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer:

"Roots of trees generally extend at least as far out as the shadow of the canopy of the tree. This area is referred to as the Protected Root Zone (PRZ). Covering this area with concrete is likely to cause the death of the tree by physically damaging the roots and by inhibiting oxygen and water from reaching the roots. Additionally, the roots of the tree have the potential to damage/crack the concrete as they grow trying to reach water and oxygen."

We are frequently asked for "taproot trees," on the assumption that a root that grows straight down will not interfere with concrete walks, driveways, sidewalks and foundations. Alas, some trees do begin with a taproot but there are few trees with a true taproot; as time goes by roots will spread from that center root, both in search of water and nutrients and also as a base to stabilize the tree in the ground. A tree tall enough, and with comparable width to provide shade for your patio is going to have roots extending far beyond the patio, if either the tree or the patio survive the planting there.

 

More Shade Tolerant Questions

Central Texas plants for dry partial shade
April 17, 2007 - I live in Austin Texas. My front garden area has rocky dry soil with intermittent sunlight and shade, maybe 2 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. Herbs do great. What perennial flowers (for some color) w...
view the full question and answer

Plants for border garden in shade in Austin
March 15, 2009 - Need suggestion for what to plant in a border garden. We live in northwest Austin and the garden is north-facing and shaded. Currently are oleanders but they don't get enough sun. Also growing are...
view the full question and answer

Screening bush for shady area
June 05, 2008 - I need some kind of bush that will act as an air conditioning blind. So far the deer have eaten or destroyed everything planted in the very shady mulch bed. What do you recommend?
view the full question and answer

Deer resistant, shade tolerant plants for Austin, TX
April 16, 2007 - I am looking for plants to put in my front yard--very shaded, and need to be deer resistant. I would love some things in the blue family. Also want blues in my back yard that is a combination of ful...
view the full question and answer

Plants to disguise plastic rainbarrels in dry shade
April 29, 2008 - What plants would you recommend to disguise blue plastic rainbarrels in dry shade?
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