Contact Us Host an Event 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
1 rating

Sunday - August 24, 2008

From: Costa Mesa, CA
Region: California
Topic: Trees
Title: Tree with tap root for small area
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr. Smarty Plants: I'm looking for a tree with a tap root to plant for shade on the side of my patio. i have about a 4 foot area to plant in and it's 8 feet to my neighbors house. ..maybe something that gets to be about 20 feet tall and obviously not spreading roots due to proximity of house and patio. The ones I have researched with tap roots are white oak, hickory, walnut butternut, hornbeam and pecan. Will any of these grow in my Zone??? What, in your opinion, would be the best of these or do I have other choices w/a tap root. Thanks for your help!

ANSWER:

Hickorys, butternuts, hornbeams and pecans would not be suitable for your area since they are not native there. However, here are several small trees that do have tap roots and could work for your small space. Note that both of the oaks have a taller maximum height than you wanted, but they are slow growing.

Celtis laevigata var. reticulata (netleaf hackberry)

Cornus nuttallii (Pacific dogwood)

Juglans californica (Southern California walnut) and photos

Prosopis pubescens (screwbean mesquite)

Prosopis velutina (velvet mesquite)

Umbellularia californica (California laurel)

Quercus agrifolia (California live oak)

Quercus garryana (Oregon white oak) and photos


Celtis laevigata var. reticulata

Cornus nuttallii

Prosopis pubescens

Prosopis velutina

Umbellularia californica

Quercus agrifolia

 

 

More Trees Questions

Is any part of Mountain Laurel poisonous to goats from Belton TX
May 02, 2013 - We are considering planting Mountain Laurel in a field where we keep goats. Will any part of the Mountain Laurel be poisonous if eaten by the goats? If it would be poisonous, could you suggest some o...
view the full question and answer

Tropical looking plants for pool area in California
November 14, 2008 - I am looking for small tropical looking plants, groundcover, and 2-small trees for around my pool. They have to be non-toxic to dogs,cats, and people. They can't attract bees/wasps, or have a root ...
view the full question and answer

Problem with oak trees in Mansfield, Texas
September 26, 2010 - We have lost 2 large oaks last year & now another is nearly gone. It has several large patches of missing bark - beneath a thin layer of skin-like membrane that seemed to separate it from the bark i...
view the full question and answer

Tree options for patio in Sun City West, Arizona.
January 07, 2011 - We have an area near our cement patio in Sun City West AZ where we would like to plant a shade tree. We planted a sissoo tree, but were told that the roots will damage the patio because of the proximi...
view the full question and answer

Possible reasons for non-fruiting wild plum
March 10, 2007 - My grandfather has land in Lee County with thickets of wild plum, I believe creek plum is another name. However, they never seem to produce plums while thickets nearby on the roadside less than one mi...
view the full question and answer

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