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 - February 14, 2013

From: Clovis, CA
Region: Select Region
Topic: Trees
Title: Effect of pecan trees on pool deck from Clovis CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have pecan trees next to our pool deck. Are pecan trees invasive, will they lift up our pool deck?

ANSWER:

For starters, the closest states where Carya illinoinensis (Pecan) grows natively are Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, as you can see from this USDA Plant Profile Map. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, home of Mr. Smarty Plants, only recommends plants native to North America as well as the area in which they are being grown; in this, case Fresno County, CA. This is because a plant native to the climate, soils and rainfall where it is growing will require the expenditure of fewer resources like water, soil amendments and fertilizer.

So, which came first, the deck or the tree? Is the deck concrete? Here are the Growing Conditions of Carya illinoinensis (Pecan).

"Water Use: High
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Low
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rich, moist, well-drained soils. Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay, Caliche type
Conditions Comments: The sweet, edible nut, makes pecan the best hickory for fruit production. The tree does not bear liberal quantities of fruit in the northern part of its range, but makes an interesting ornamental there. Susceptible to galls, twig girdlers, aphids, borers, weevils, pecan scab, tent caterpillars, and webworms. Slow-growing. Difficult to transplant because of a large taproot."

Notice the last line of those conditions. Many people ask us for taproot trees to be planted near a pool. In actuality, even a taproot tree has many feeder roots going in all directions, not only in search of nutrients and water but also to balance the tree and keep it upright in the soil. Follow this plant link Carya illinoinensis (Pecan) to our webpage on the tree to find out more about it. The tree can get ovef a hundred feet tall and we can tell you that it will work on surviving and its roots will almost certainly attempt to crack up the deck in order to facilitate not just the access to soil nutrients and water but also gas exchanges of oxygen and carbon dioxide at the soil surface.

We would also mention that a large deciduous tree in the vicinity of a pool is a mess in the making. Being deciduous, it will be dropping lots of large leaves, twigs and blossoms onto and into the water every year.

Final word: these two, deck and tree, are truly not compatible. If the tree is small, you might sacrifice it by taking it out. Transplanting is difficult, as noted above, because of the taproot. You might not live there long enough to deal with the possible ultimate height of 100', but that is pretty large for a regular residential lot. If you just leave it alone and let them work it out. you are likely to end up with a dead tree or a badly damaged pool area.

 

From the Image Gallery


Pecan
Carya illinoinensis

Pecan
Carya illinoinensis

Pecan
Carya illinoinensis

More Trees Questions

Update on controlling live oak suckers with newspapers, cardboard and mulch
September 12, 2014 - Can we get an update on the march 2011 topic of live oak suckers? I am wondering if the newspaper/cardboard/mulch layers continued to take care of the problem. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Hedge for steep slope by sidewalk in Wisconsin
August 25, 2008 - I have a fairly steep slope from the sidewalk to my yard. The space is about 48" high, 30" deep and 120' long. I was thinking that a boxwood hedge would fill that space nicely but no one else aroun...
view the full question and answer

Identification of a tree in Florida with bell-shaped red flowers
November 23, 2012 - A friend in Florida has asked about identification of a tree with a flower none of us have ever seen. It starts with a green pod, then flowers into, what looks to me like a Chinese lantern, or bell. I...
view the full question and answer

Cedar elm with brown leaves
August 12, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, We feel we may have limited time to save our beautiful Ceder Elm. We have many trees in our yard (Post Oaks and Cedar Elms) and have been told they are all between 50 - 75 year...
view the full question and answer

Water-loving evergreen for Chicago
April 21, 2008 - Is there a water loving evergreen that will do well in the Chicago weather?
view the full question and answer

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