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

mixed species privacy hedge in Central Texas
March 24, 2016 - I need to plant a privacy hedge along a fence line. I am in east Austin, blackland prairie soil. The soil is rich, usually at least moist but not soggy, and I find lots of worms when I dig. The fen...
view the full question and answer

Problems with Habiturf in Austin
May 10, 2014 - I have been trying to establish a Habiturf lawn in my back yard. It is approximately a 1,000 square foot area and this last seeding was the third over about one and a half years. I just recently over ...
view the full question and answer

Sages in Catasauqua, PA
August 08, 2014 - I want to buy a Texas Sage tree but I live in PA. Can I bring the tree indoors during winter?
view the full question and answer

Shade grasses for central Texas
November 16, 2014 - We are new to the area and bought a home this summer that has lots of shade in the very small backyard. The problem is that there was new sod laid in the backyard which now is 50% dead. We do not kno...
view the full question and answer

How to care for newly transplanted Live Oak.
July 02, 2009 - I planted 3 B & B, 6" caliper live oaks in February and they lost most of their leaves during the normal time but when the new leaves grew back the amount of leaves were quite a bit less. I have th...
view the full question and answer

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