En EspaŅol

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
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

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

Problems with Anacacho Orchid tree in Austin
May 17, 2010 - I have an Anacacho Orchid that is about 9ft tall. It is early May and has not started to put out leaves yet on the old growth. I can't even see any noticeable buds yet. It is still alive because I ha...
view the full question and answer

Soapberry tree problems in North Richland Hills, TX
September 01, 2010 - We have a small grove of soapberry trees. The city recently reconstructed the street and added a side walk which now sets as close at 1 foot from the nearest tree. Everything seemed fine until they ...
view the full question and answer

Live oaks exhibiting white foam spots from Round Rock, TX
June 08, 2014 - We have several native very large Live Oak in our backyard, and this summer we have noticed white foam spots on the branches. We live in Round Rock next to the Williamson County Park. The spots look...
view the full question and answer

Trees suited for rocky, caliche soil of Central Texas
September 20, 2011 - I need to replace aging ashes. I have planted 2 Monterey oaks, but I would like to know what else I could plant whose roots will grow well in NW Austin caliche, rocky soil? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

PVC pipes for irrigation in ground in Austin
August 19, 2009 - Mr. Smarty Plants,What are your thoughts on installing PVC pipes into the ground around trees and shrubby trees? A classmate's grandmother had a pipe pushed or pounded into the ground near her speci...
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.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center