Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Evergreen Privacy Screen for Maryland
November 19, 2012 - I am looking for an evergreen that will suffice to be planted as a privacy screen between my property and my neighbors. Looking to plant a row at the property line. The lot is shaded most of the d...
view the full question and answer

Need a 2-4 ft shrub for the shady NW side of the house in Austin, TX
February 07, 2012 - I am looking for a 2-4 ft tall shrub or hedge to plant along the NW side of my house, which is shaded by a live oak. This area doesn't get any direct sun. I wondered if a row of Winter Gem Boxwoods ...
view the full question and answer

Grasses for shady area with sandy soil
September 23, 2008 - We have very sandy soil, is there any type of grass that will grow well. Also, very shady.
view the full question and answer

What to plant between patio flagstones in Austin, TX?
May 16, 2011 - I would like to plant something between my flagstones on the patio. Something that doesn't require a lot of water, low growing, and can stand a little to moderate traffic. It is in a shade to partly...
view the full question and answer

ground covers for shady areas in New York City
June 27, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: What would be the best ground covers for big shady areas in New York City instead of lawns?
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.