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

Monday - November 16, 2009

From: Columbia, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: Trees
Title: Small tree for yard in Columbia TN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a somewhat small yard but the construction workers put a water and sewer drain in the middle of my yard. The sewer main is located on the far side of my property my width of yard is 60 feet width from street to house is 27 feet. I want a low root system tree to plant. I don't want a big tree(over 30ft). What type of tree should I get?

ANSWER:

The fact that you are looking for a small tree makes this much easier. The extent that roots go out from a tree often is comparable to the width of the canopy. Obviously, you want to get as far from both the drain and the main when you plant the tree, but don't ignore  possible problems, like driveways, sidewalks, foundations or curbs. Your tree could cause just as much trouble getting involved with those hardscapes as it could with the drain. We are not too good at visualizing, but it sounds like, if there are no other restraining factors, you could plant a tree about 14 ft. from from the drain, and position it halfway to the property line opposite the main. Another good thing about these four suggested trees is that they all have nice blooms, and all are native to Tennessee and near to Maury County, in Central Tennessee. For more possibilities, you can go to our Native Plant Database, and narrow your search by clicking on Tennessee and then "tree" under General Appearance. By reading the page from our database on each plant, you can learn what its growth characteristics are, what sunlight requirements it has,and how much moisture it needs.

Small trees for Columbia, TN:

Cercis canadensis (eastern redbud) - 15 to 30 ft. tall, deciduous, blooms pink March to May, low water use, part shade or shade

Chionanthus virginicus (white fringetree) - 15 to 30 ft., deciduous, blooms white April and May, high water use, part shade

Magnolia virginiana (sweetbay) - 12 to 20 ft. tall, evergreen in the South, blooms white April to July, high water use, part shade

Prunus americana (American plum) - to 35 ft. tall, deciduous, medium water use, sun, part shade or shade

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Cercis canadensis

Chionanthus virginicus

Magnolia virginiana

Prunus americana

 

 

 

 

More Trees Questions

Native specimen tree for Houston, Texas
September 23, 2009 - Looking for recommendations for a specimen tree to flank our front steps. Evergreen, 15 feet tall, maybe 10 feet wide. Will be near icee blue Japanese yews and nearly wild rose bushes. Ideas?
view the full question and answer

Osage orange thorn in foot in Redford MO
June 01, 2010 - I ran an osage orange thorn through my foot,it is very sore and very red around it. Is that something I might need to see a dr about, or it is just going to be sore for a couple days. It only happened...
view the full question and answer

Small tree for Northern California backyard
March 05, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I'm looking for a small tree for backyard (west side of house). I'm replacing a Calif.Laurel which is not doing well because it is planted on a downward slope and gets too m...
view the full question and answer

Wound in Monterey Oak from Austin
June 20, 2012 - I have a 10 year old Monterey Oak that has developed a wound that is secreting a white bubbly substance that has attracted all the bugs, like butterfly's , pill bugs, ants, and several others I don'...
view the full question and answer

Live oak trees dropping leaves in clumps
December 08, 2009 - We have several large mature Live Oak trees in our Austin TX neighborhood. Now that the rains have come back and the acorns are falling, two of our four trees are also dropping large amounts of leave...
view the full question and answer

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