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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - August 04, 2008

From: Baltimore, MD
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Trees
Title: Deciduous tree with tap root
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a 13 foot space between two town houses and would like to plant a slender deciduous tree up to 30 feet in height with a tendency to tap root so as not to disturb the foundation of the houses. I love a Katsura but am worried about the shallow roots. What would you recommend?

ANSWER:

First of all, Mr. Smarty Plants wouldn't recommend a Katsura (Cercidiphyllum spp.) tree since it is native to Japan and China and not to North America and what we are all about at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is "to increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes". However, we can recommend a few trees native to Maryland that have a tap root system that shouldn't interfere with your foundation.

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) has leaves that look much like the katsura tree and reaches 15 to 30 feet. It also has a root system that shouldn't harm your foundation.

Carpinus caroliniana (American hornbeam) slow-growing, 35-50 feet. Here are more photos.

Juglans cinerea (butternut) fairly fast-growing, 40-60 feet. Here are photos.

Quercus stellata (post oak) slow-growing, 40-50 feet.

Carya alba (mockernut hickory) slow-growing, 50-60 feet. Here are more photos.


Cercis canadensis

Carpinus caroliniana

Quercus stellata

Carya alba

 



 



 

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