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

Thursday - June 28, 2012

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Installing limestone walkway around trees from Pflugerville TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants:I wish to install a limestone walkway in my front yard, however, there are some roots(~ 1.25 inch) in the designated area. Will this hurt or kill the tree if I cut these away? There are much bigger roots that I will not touch. The tree is about 27 years old and needs some pruning attention.

ANSWER:

Since you did not say what kind of tree you were planning to cut away, it's hard for us to say. We know it won't do any tree any good to have roots that size cut or taken out. If the tree is an oak, we urge to you read the website on Texas Oak Wilt to know just how bad the hurt could be. Same goes for pruning. If it is an oak, no cutting until December to January, when the Nitidulid beetle is not actively taking  the oak wilt fungus around. Any time any tree is pruned, pruning wounds bigger than your thumb should be painted with pruning paint.

The other thing we would mention about this project is that those very same roots are not going to tolerate that limestone walkway graciously. The roots are going to be pushing up to get oxygen and water, as well as growing outward searching for nutrition in the soil.

We found some websites that didn't mention allowing for tree roots but did give some good instructions:

eHow - How to Install a Limestone Walkway

eHow - How to Use Decomposed Granite for Walkways

University of Minnesota - Planting Under Existing Trees

Colorado State University Extension - Healthy Roots and Healthy Trees

Learn2Grow - Surface Tree Roots: To Cover or Not to Cover

 

 

More Planting Questions

When to plant non-native red-tip photinia
November 17, 2011 - When do you plant the Red-Tip Photinia Flowering Shrubs in Roanoke VA?
view the full question and answer

Shrub that will grow outside in Zone 5 from Millbrook NY
April 21, 2012 - Is there any shrub, tree or other sort of plant that will grow well in zone 5 in a very large container outdoors?
view the full question and answer

Need help with my Mountain Laurel in Sugarland, TX
June 22, 2011 - Texas Mountain Laurel - My plant's leaves are turning yellow and falling off. I don't know if this is caused from over watering or under watering. I have skipped days of watering to see if it will h...
view the full question and answer

When is best time to transplant Ezperanza shrubs in Buda, TX?
September 02, 2013 - I need to transplant 2 huge Esperanza's...when is the best time to uproot them and not kill them?
view the full question and answer

Reseeding a dead lawn in Wimberley TX
February 07, 2012 - Our new house had a sodded lawn that now appears dead. There remains a layer of sandy soil as a part of the sodding process. Is there a way to reseed these existing slabs of sod and what process wo...
view the full question and answer

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