En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Tree species for a small yard

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

Friday - June 29, 2012

From: Frisco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree species for a small yard
Answered by: Guy Thompson

QUESTION:

I have a small front yard area. Maybe 10' x 15'. It is also elevated. There is a retaining wall about 4 feet high. The builders planted a live oak! I think it is a nightmare waiting to happen as it matures. I would like a smaller tree, to fit in that size yard, that will not tear the wall down 10 years down the road. I have looked at crepe myrtles, and choke cherries. Am I going in the right direction? Are there any others I should consider? Additionally the parkway area between the sidewalk and street. Maybe 5 feet wide. They planted live oaks there as well. I love trees, but it just seems like bad choices for small areas. I am in zone 8a. Help!

ANSWER:

You are wise to be concerned about tree size and possible damage to retaining walls.  Crepe myrtle (non-native) and Prunus virginiana (Chokecherry) are good bets.  To view a larger number of possible replacement trees check the Texas Tree Selector web site.  Native trees are recommended because of their ability to withstand the Texas climate.  This site does not give information on root encroachment, but some useful data on that point will be found at a site dealing with street trees.  As a general rule, trees will extend at least small roots out to about the outer drip line of the foliage.  Additional information on any of the native trees, including images, can be found by typing the common or botanical name into the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center Native Plant Database.

This is certainly not an ideal season for planting trees.  You would be advised to wait for cooler weather in the fall or winter.  By checking the list of plant suppliers in your neighborhood on the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center web site you should find a source of suitable trees.

 

More Trees Questions

Are there male and female mesquite trees and do both have seeds?
September 22, 2010 - Do both male and female mesquite trees (all species) have seed pods?
view the full question and answer

Possible sawflies on loblolly pine (Pinus taeda)
May 03, 2011 - My pine trees looked great a week ago, now one from top to bottom is almost without needles. It is covered with greenish caterpillars. They have several stripes down their back . Could these be saw fl...
view the full question and answer

Live oak leaves turning yellow after planting in Houston
December 19, 2011 - We bought a 65 gallon live oak in early October, and have been watering fairly heavily three days a week. It seemed OK, then all of a sudden lots of the leaves are turning yellow. Is it getting too ...
view the full question and answer

Healthy black walnut trees from volunteer saplings
May 07, 2008 - We just purchased a piece of property in the Texas Hill Country. There is a stump of a large black walnut tree that has four healthy looking samplings shooting up. Each is about 10 feet high. The o...
view the full question and answer

Trees for barrier fence near swimming pool in West Virginia
March 10, 2010 - Near swimming pool, barrier fence needs to replace pine trees. Prefer blooming perennial at least 12' high,low sun exposure, minimal pruning.
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