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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 - September 01, 2008

From: Round Rock, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Planting, Trees
Title: Protecting a new patio from oak roots
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hello, I have just formed up for a new patio. I have a Live Oak tree about 2' away from the patio. It has a trunk diameter of about 10", I believe 20-25 years old. Problem: I have 2 large roots in the outside beam of the patio. If I leave the roots there, it will upheave the concrete & crack the patio. If I cut these, how much damage to the tree. It's the only live oak in my yard. Help!

ANSWER:

Not only will cutting the large roots harm the tree in the short term, the tree will be much more susceptible to blowing over in strong winds.  We are not sure exactly what you mean by the term "outside beam", but if at all possible, install a steel bridge over the roots in your concrete form to allow the roots to remain in place without harming the patio.

 

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