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
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

Protecting live oaks when removing jasmine in Austin
December 03, 2010 - Thank you for your answer to my question of eliminating a 25-year-old bed of Asian Jasmine. I have another question. There is a stand of live oak trees in this bed and as we are digging out the jasmi...
view the full question and answer

Fruit trees for South Austin.
January 25, 2008 - I live in South, South Austin, just a pinch West of 35 near 1626. I would like to plant some fruit trees in the back yard. Anyone will sell fruit trees, but they don't always grow. What fruiting var...
view the full question and answer

Screen Tree for Lockhart, TX.
March 30, 2015 - What is a good screening tree for a ranch in the Lockhart area that won't get much water.
view the full question and answer

Need evergreen hedge and groundcover for shade in Carmel, Indiana
September 27, 2010 - Our property is bounded by a fencerow that is wooded and mostly shaded by mulberry and hackberry trees during the growing months. We'd like to create a 5'+ tall evergreen barrier on the property li...
view the full question and answer

Transplanting live oaks in summer
July 17, 2008 - I have a need to transplant a live oak tree on a home building site. The need is now, the house is almost completely built out and the owners did not prep the site by moving trees or prepping them to ...
view the full question and answer

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