Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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 - July 17, 2008

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Soils, Trees
Title: Effects of patio under large tree
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I would like to put in a patio under a fairly large tree. I understand a tree needs some open ground around it for air and water. Can I use flagstone leaving 6-10 inches of space between the stones? Or could I use something else like decomposed granite? Do you have any other suggestions?

ANSWER:

Because this is the type of question that comes up fairly often, we would like to refer you to a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer that covers most of the answers to your question. There are a number of excellent information links in that answer, especially one about permeable paving surfaces, which specifically mentions flagstones laid without mortar. It would seem that your plan would work, but you do need to remember that those roots are going to be pushing up to the surface for oxygen and water, and the more they push, the more the flagstones will be disarranged. However, if your patio plan is flexible enough to permit you to move stones around from time and time, and avoid compacting the earth, your patio should turn out fine.

 

More Soils Questions

Care of Ixora by lowering soil pH
March 24, 2007 - I have a bunch of Ixoras that the leaves are turning brown, before I pull them out, is there any kind of treatment to save them? I have used insecticidal soap several times but there has been no impro...
view the full question and answer

Failure of highbush blueberry plant to produce in New Hampshire
July 25, 2008 - One of my highbush blueberry plants completely stopped producing. What can I do to revive it?
view the full question and answer

Calcium from Eggshells for Ferns?
December 15, 2014 - I was reading recently about beneficial additions to the soil/plant. The first was about soaking used egg shells overnight and then pouring the water onto ferns. They said that the calcium in eggshell...
view the full question and answer

Potting soil mixture at Wildflower Center from Austin
August 14, 2012 - What potting soil mixture does the Wildflower Center use in its greenhouses for the native plants grown for the Austin Native Plant sales? Is the pH adjusted to match the alkaline soils in this area? ...
view the full question and answer

Fruit in the compost bin
June 07, 2009 - I have a compost bin and I use the pulp from fruits and vegetables as one of the ingredients in my compost pile. We juice everyday so will all this pulp be too potent for new seedlings?
view the full question and answer

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