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

Monday - March 11, 2013

From: Washington, MO
Region: Midwest
Topic: Erosion Control, Trees
Title: Further explanation of retaining walls and trees from Washington MO
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I had a question previously about putting retaining walls across the root system of a 40' tall bald cypress tree(not like spokes on a wheel, but concentric to tree trunk). How wide can the walls be? How deep can the dirt backfill behind the walls be? How far away from the trunk should the walls stay? I am only asking how to minimize stress to the tree, not how to engineer it. My choice of words gave you the wrong direction to proceed with your answer. Please address only the plant/tree issue for me.

ANSWER:

Sorry we got so wrapped up in the rain garden issue we forgot the tree root issue. In fact, we had a reference to tree wells in our original answer and removed it because the answer got so long. For anyone interested in seeing how we goofed up, here is your previous Mr. Smarty Plants question.

Basically what you are asking about is Tree Wells. This article, we believe, actually addresses the questions you have, and much better than this mathematics-challenged gardener could. It has diagrams, a discussion of grade changes, the distance a wall  should be from a tree trunk, weep holes, etc. Since you can actually see your tree, the incline and soil type, hopefully this will answer all the questions we did not.

 

More Trees Questions

Plants for winter installation in Houston
January 01, 2009 - What plants can you plant in the winter, Houston, Texas?
view the full question and answer

Identification of Diospyros texana at Enchanted Rock Park
April 07, 2007 - I took pictures last year in April of one particular large shrub in Enchanted Rock Park. The flowers are extremely fragrant, sort of cluster of tiny creamy white bell shaped. We came back this last we...
view the full question and answer

Small trees for Alberta
March 17, 2011 - I would like to know if there is a short, 15 feet and under, deciduous tree that can be grown outside in Calgary, AB
view the full question and answer

Double trunks on bur oaks in Houston
March 15, 2010 - I am involved in a garden club propagation project. One of the trees we have had success propagating is the Bur Oak. Two of these baby Bur Oaks have multi trunks..one has two and the other has three....
view the full question and answer

Survivability of birch trees in Texas
August 16, 2006 - Is it known whether Gray birch (Betula populifolia Marsh) will grow in North Texas? It seems like the only birch variety which might - and how short is a "short lifespan" for a tree?
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center