En Español

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 - May 23, 2011

From: Stuart, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Non-native mango in pool area in Stuart FL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

We are landscaping a backyard and want to put in a pool. He wants to keep the huge mango tree that overhangs part of the pool area, I don't really care but would like to know what other fast growing shade tree would be recommended for a pool area in Stuart Fl in case we need to take it out. There are already lots of palms so we were are looking for more of a less messy but leafy tree like the mango.

ANSWER:

Mangifera indica, mango tree, is native to Malaysia, India and Burma, and therefore falls out of our expertise. At the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, we are devoted to the principles of native gardening, because plants growing where they belong will need less fertilizer, water and pest control. However, in your case, we don't think any tree, native or otherwise, would be appropriate because of interference of the roots with the structure of the pool, as well as the material that would be shed by the tree into the pool.

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). It is probable that digging for the pool is going to damage the mango sufficiently that it won't survive anyway.  Additionally, the roots of the tree have the potential to damage/crack any concrete they encounter 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 pool area, is going to have roots extending far beyond the initial area, if either the tree or the pool survive the planting there. A tree big enough to cast shade, say, 20 ft. tall, will usually have about the same spread-20' wide. The roots beneath that tree will normally spread out from two to three times farther than the crown.

Our suggestion is to start with the pool, if that is what you decide to do. If it is recommended that the mango come out, or that it will be damaged by the digging, don't consider replacing it with another tree until you see how the pool fits into your space. Once a tree is in the ground, when it begins to conflict with the hardscape, in this case the structure of the pool, then it will probably have to come out again. Save yourself the trouble.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Edible plants beginning with I, T, X and Z in Colorado
March 26, 2009 - My friend would like to know a fruit or vegetable that he would plant in his garden and come back yearly. The plants would have to start with the letters I,T,X, & Z. It has to be edible, of course.
view the full question and answer

Division of non-native Lamb's Ear plant in Austin
May 17, 2010 - I have a lambs' ear plant that has gone wild, and I would like to divide and transplant part of the plant. Advice? Live in Austin, TX. 78757
view the full question and answer

Native plants for southwest side of house in Birmingham, AL
April 18, 2009 - I would like to know what I can plant on the southwest side of my house where there is a brick foundation and is really hot in the summer. I've tried irises and day lilies-not good. Suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for Buckeye AZ
May 16, 2010 - I am moving to Buckeye Az from Utah and would like to know what type of fruit trees I can grow. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Possibly escaped non-native Buddleja davidii in Missouri
March 15, 2006 - About 3 years ago my wife and I were traveling thru southeastern Missouri and stopped at a road side rest station on Interstate 44. While we were there we noticed a shrub about 4 to 5 feet tall with p...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center