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 Trees Questions

Pruning lower branches of Cordia Boissieri from San Antonio
December 08, 2013 - My Texas Wild Olive Tree is about 6 feet high now. I bought it at the 2012 plant sale. This past summer it put on new branches near the base of the tree which I would like to cut off (to encourage u...
view the full question and answer

Trees for Plum Grove, TX
October 05, 2013 - Sorry Mr. Smarty pants, my question is I live in Plum Grove Texas, I have 5 acres and NO TREES. What trees were on the property were either taken out by Ike, or the twisters that followed. I have boug...
view the full question and answer

Need trees & shrubs for a 2.5x45 ft. planter box in Chatsworth. CA.
August 07, 2012 - We recently built a pool in our backyard and need to redo all the landscaping. We have a planter that is 45 feet long and about 2.5 feet wide. We'd like to put some trees in this planter that are n...
view the full question and answer

Native Christmas tree from Smithville TX
December 16, 2012 - I've always wanted to use a native tree as a Christmas tree. Do you have any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Replacement for maple tree lost in Hurricane Sandy from Hauppauge NY
March 17, 2013 - Lost a Maple street tree in Hurricane Sandy, was forty-eight years old. Town will not replace the tree. Must do it on my own. What would you suggest? Nothing that grows too tall.
view the full question and answer

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