Tree Notes is about trees -- especially native trees, trees for wildlife, and trees in history.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Twelve native trees with large surface roots

Bad choices for areas near paving or sidewalks


Due to their large roots at the surface of the soil, these trees are not suitable for planting near sidewalks or  driveways. They will cause problems if planted within "wells" in paved areas, parking lots, etc., and they will be increasingly difficult to mow around, wherever they are planted.  Be careful that you don't plant them where their roots will be a trial and tribulation in your life.

Red maple (Acer rubrum)
Silver maple (Acer saccharinum)
River birch (Betula nigra)
Hackberries (Celtis spp.)
Beech (Fagus grandifolia)
Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)
Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora)*
American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis)
Pin oak (Quercus palustris)
Willow oak (Quercus phellos)
Live oak (Quercus virginiana)
American elm (Ulmus americana)

From a list in Trees for Paved Areas, a 2002 publication of the Virginia Cooperative Extension.  Non-native trees in the list include weeping willow, London planetree, and Norway maple.

*Your nursery may recommend cultivars of the southern magnolia that are supposed to have fewer surface roots. It would be a good idea to do some thorough research of the cultivar on your own, before planting .

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Enrich your life with the study of trees.

"The power to recognize trees at a glance without examining their leaves or flowers or fruit as they are seen, for example, from the car-window during a railroad journey, can only be acquired by studying them as they grow under all possible conditions over wide areas of territory. Such an attainment may not have much practical value, but once acquired it gives to the possessor a good deal of pleasure which is denied to less fortunate travelers."

Charles Sprague Sargent (1841-1927)

Print references I frequently consult

Benvie, Sam. Encyclopedia of North American Trees. Buffalo, NY: Firefly, 2000.

Brockman, C. Frank. Trees of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. Ed. Herbert S. Zim. New York: Golden, 1986.

Cliburn, Jerry, and Ginny Clomps. A Key to Missouri Trees in Winter: An Identification Guide. Conservation Commission of the State of Missouri, 1980.

Collingwood, G. H., Warren David Brush, and Devereux Butcher. Knowing Your Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1978.

Dirr, Michael. Dirr's Hardy Trees and Shrubs: an Illustrated Encyclopedia. Portland, Or.: Timber, 1997.

Elias, Thomas S. The Complete Trees of North America; Field Guide and Natural History. New York: Book Division, Times Mirror Magazines, 1980.

Grimm, William Carey. The Book of Trees;. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole, 1962.

Hightshoe, Gary L. Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Urban and Rural America: a Planting Design Manual for Environmental Designers. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1988.

Little, Elbert L. National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees. New York: Chanticleer, 1996.

Martin, Alexander C., Herbert S. Zim, and Arnold L. Nelson. American Wildlife and Plants. New York: McGraw Hill, 1951.

Mitchell, Alan F., and David More. The Trees of North America. New York, NY: Facts On File Publications, 1987.

Randall, Charles E. Enjoying Our Trees. Washington: American Forestry Association, 1969.

Settergren, Carl D., and R. E. McDermott. Trees of Missouri. Columbia: University Extension, 1995.

Sternberg, Guy, and James W. Wilson. Native Trees for North American Landscapes: from the Atlantic to the Rockies. Portland: Timber, 2004.

Wharton, Mary E., and Roger W. Barbour. Trees and Shrubs of Kentucky. Lexington: University of Kentucky, 1973.

Wyman, Donald. Trees for American Gardens. New York: Macmillan, 1965.

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