Which trees have least invasive roots?

redsox_gwApril 12, 2008

My Husband and I had to remove a couple of trees that were damaged in storms. One was a crabapple that really had no leaves and the other ?? I don't know the variety but we lost it in an icestorm. We also removed a fairly healthy tree that was a huge problem for us but still, I felt a bit guilty.

Then we have an ash in the front. Evidently there is a pest on the way that will decimate all of the ash trees and it is already in Ohio so that one is a goner in the next few years. We have a Maple and the roots seem to come out of the ground fairly high and it is supposed to have very invasive roots. We have lots of others but one, a weeping cherry, I love love love.

I plan to put a bed near a group of hemlocks. Evidently they are deeply rooted but how far away would the bed need to be from the last hemlock?

Sorry for all the rambling but we would like to put a couple of new trees in the future but it may be nearby an area for a future bed or two. What are some trees that would not interfere with roses? I mean, their roots are not invasive or are short?

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paparoseman(z8 WA. PO.)

Japanese Maples do not have invasive roots. For hemlocks, if you know the mature size anything past the drip line should be safe. Japanese maples have a shallow root system but the roots only go out s far as the drip line.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 12:08AM
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Maryl zone 7a

Actually I was going to suggest one of the newer disease resistant Crabapples. Why did you remove the one you had?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 1:48AM
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catsrose(VA 6)

Stay away from anything in the poplar and willow families. Conifers (evergreens) are good for roots and also windbreaks, which roses also appreciate. Roses should go on the south side of of any tree that is going to get large. Crabs and other fruit trees are good. Many new crabs are nearly fruitless, if you don't want fruit but do want blossoms. Crabs don't like it wet. Stay away from ornamental pears, especially bradfords as they split easily when they get older. Oaks are okay, but slow growing. Cryptomeria are very good and come in lots of sizes, from tall shrubs to giants--and they are deer resistant.

Best thing is to decide 1) how big a tree; 2) evergreen or decidous; 3) if deciduous, flowering or not. Then look at trees that fit that bill.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 2:49AM
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In your zone, if you want something pretty and deciduous, what about a yoshino cherry? I do love Japanese maples and I have developed a lust for them in the past few years. We have only 4 but if I could figure out how to make my husband like them well enough to spend the big bucks on them, I would have more but hrrrrmph, they are not cheap.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 4:02AM
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This is a subject that really gets me going. I have over 200 roses, but I also have 55 trees in my garden.

It unnerves me that our entire eco system is changing and has been for a lot of years. We are losing all of our most precious and beautiful trees due to some sort of obnoxious disease or insect that is imported. First, the chestnut trees, then the elms. Now the green ash borer is on the move. (I'm treating my ash with a systemic that kills the bores in hopes of making it strong enough to resist them). There is a fungus pleaguing our oaks right now and an insect that is desimating our hemlocks. Before you know it all of our most beautiful trees will be gone along with more than 50% of our wildlife that needs these trees to survive.

Plant trees that are native to this country and your area. But then, our trees are in jeapordary. All these diseases and insects that are killing them are imported. Our trees have no defense against them and we have no predators to keep the them under control.

Here in Pennsylvania, it is hoped to try and re-establish the chestnut in the next 10 years. It would be wonderful to have this graceful tree back again, but the wildlife we lost due to it's demise the first time will never come back. A large number of animal and insect life became extinct when these trees were devestated over 50 years ago.

I just bought a Serviceberry for my garden. I wanted an understory tree that would draw the tiny birds. Nursery people had a hard time understanding the word "NATIVE". They thought that being a gardener I should have conversation pieces and showed me Asian trees imported, telling me that they were really cool. They looked like to much work, to unorganized and if I want red flowers early spring, I'll get a maple, thank you very much. That imported Asian tree offered nothing for the native wildlife in this area. I found a Serviceberry, multi-trunked, that I liked for my garden. It will give year round interest for the garden with it's tiny white flowers, purple fruit and silver bark as well as draw in the tiny buntings and grossbeaks.

I think our nursery people should be better informed about our own native plants and the beauty of them rather than something that belongs in a different part of the world and carries diseases that would kill our own natural beauty.

Roses is only one of my loves. If you come to my home, I don't have formal rose gardens. I have roses mixed in with other plants because I love the natural look. I don't spray for bugs in my garden, but I will treat for prevention of black spot and powdry mildew. I will keep mostly rugosa and polyantha roses since they blend so well with the natural order of my garden as well as some hybrid perpeturals and shrubs and miniatures. I do keep a few hybrid teas for cutting, but I don't show roses; don't really want to. I don't want to care for them the way they need to be cared for in order to show nicely. I want a garden where I can feel the stress fall off my shoulders after a long day at work. A garden where I can stoop down and pull a weed or scratch in the dirt and it would never be noticed even if I didn't. I want a garden where I can take a good book and sit under a tree and read in the perfume of the rose. I want a garden that you can walk around every corner and find something that is native and wonderful and interesting from the tiniest barronroot groundcover to the insects, butterflies and hummingbirds that catch your eye.

People stop to look at my garden, to walk in it. Many of them ask me to help them design a garden that would provide the same feelings that mine envokes and they tell me that if they had a garden like mine, they'd never come inside. I do spend as much time out there as possible. I love it that much.

I think I'm done with my soapbox now.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 6:27AM
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Thanks for the suggestions. Actually one of the trees that died in an icestorm was a Bradford Pear. We are finding that a lot of trees on our property are just really old and in decline. The crabapple still put on a show in Spring but then it had NO leaves the rest of the year. It had decay too.

Maybe a Japanese Maple will do the trick. I am not sure what is meant by the dripline of the hemlocks: just the outside of where the foliage would end?

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:21AM
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I can tell you a couple not to plant near roses. River Birch. Some of you may instantly realize why not to plant that one..it likes being near rivers and hogs water. Willows too. I planted a line of Leyland cypress 20 years ago that is maybe 40 feet high. They're a great screen but the rose beds on that side of my garden tend to be dry. I have two roses growing right under a crabapple tree. I rarely water them and they seem pretty happy. THe crabapple does sucker though and is kind of a mess but very pretty and fragrant when it blooms. Right now it is snowing blossoms. Be sure not to plant a black walnut. A neighbor planted two purple leaf plum trees that I greatly appreciate for the dark contrast with all the green. I don't know how the roots are though. Another thing to keep in mind is eventual size. I planted two WIllow Oaks 22 years ago and both are very large now and just won't quit growing. THe shade keeps expanding. Unless you have a large property I'd get a moderate grower. I second Yoshino cherries...they aren't too huge, grow fast and are so beautiful but sucker some.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:06AM
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gnabonnand(Zone 8 Texas)

Good, friendly root systems at my place:
* Japanese Maples
* Yaupon Holly (native)

Aggressive, unfriendly root systems at my place:
* Crepe Myrtle


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 11:15AM
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Sounds like Japanese Maple it is.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 11:44AM
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roses_more_roses(Z9 N CA)

I also would say Japanese Maple, last year I planted a Bloodgood Japanese Maple and a Red Emperor and it is amazing that they take full sun. I thought they would struggle in the sun, but they are doing great.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 12:13PM
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Diana, Bloodgood is a good one and it is less expensive than some of the other grafted ones and appears quite healthy.

Here is some good information on acer palmatum a/k/a japanese maple. Incidentally, there is a man in our area who specializes in acer palmatum and his prices range from $50 to $5000, depending on size, etc. And, yet, people come from several-hundred miles to buy his because they are less expensive.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 12:26PM
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In our neighborhood, everybody had at least one Bradford pear, must have been a sale for the landscape architects who chose the plantings. We thought they were so pretty in spring that we planted 18 in our back yard. Well, that was about 15 years ago and today we don't have a single one. Winds, storms and lightning have destroyed every single one. They are not a good tree, their roots are very superficial and they grow way too fast to set down good roots and their growth habit makes them a lightning rod for storms.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 12:29PM
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Fruit trees grafted on a dwarfing rootstock are good too, although as others have said avoid the pears. Cherries don't take much work and if you don't want to eat the cherries you can let the birds have them. Japanese Maples are very nice, and I wish I could grow them here. Most of them aren't winter hardy here and they're expensive to take a risk on. They should be fine for you though.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 6:46PM
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As a rule, tree roots extend far, far beyond the drip line and the majority of the roots are in the top 12" of soil. At the arboretum where I work Verizon made a big ditch well outside the drip line of two Japanese maples. One died and the other is in a serious decline. Don't know where the idea got started that tree roots are within the drip line-- not true.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 8:25PM
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Terry Crawford

I have a tri-color beech in my side yard. Hasn't gotten very big and has very decorative, showy tri-colored leaves in the spring. A different choice from the Japanese maples and has been very hardy here. I have dianthus planted around it and haven't had any problems with water competition.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:23PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

I love Japanese Maples, but they will not replace a large shade tree. You should decide what you want the tree for, a specimen tree or a shade tree.

pat, we have a nursery here that specializes in Japanese maples and other trees. We bought a small waterfall maple from them. I also have a red-ish purple lace leaf. Both are about 3 feet high. They had a lot of damage from last years freeze, but have come back. I'd like to get more. I want a coral bark (a neighbor of mine has one that looks fantastic all winter long) and the one with the leaves that look like painted fingernails. I can't remember the name.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 9:59PM
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Buford, the orange trunk, is it 'Sango kaku? Please let me know which she has when you find out. I love these things.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 10:39PM
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I bought a sango kaku last spring for a couple hundred dollars and it froze and died a week later during the easter freeze. And the nursery lady was more concerned that the leaves might burn in the summer!lol. Personally i don't worry about tree roots. I have a very large silver maple that i planted a couple of hollies and a corylus rose around. they seem to be doing very well. the hollies away from the trees all died. I agree that roots of trees and shrubs extend well beyond the drip line. I've had to chop out many. Shade would cause more of a problem than roots.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 10:58PM
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buford(7 NE GA)

pat, yes that's the coral bark

Sango Kaku

    Bookmark   April 13, 2008 at 11:00PM
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I am facing the same problem. We have a 20-year-old maple that is raising the sidewalk, cracking the pavement, and destroying my flower beds. It is about 15' from the house. I need something that will provide shade at least 18' high at maturity. Taller would have been nice, but our heavy clay may be part of the problem. What do you recommend that will not have invasive roots or raise sidewalks?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2011 at 8:52PM
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