En EspaŅol

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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - February 10, 2009

From: Portland, OR
Region: Northwest
Topic: Invasive Plants, Trees
Title: Walnut tree root coming through basement floor in Portland, OR
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a walnut tree root coming through my basement floor. I need advice as to what will it do to tree when I remove the root, like another root though a different part of my home. It is a large tree that has been here for thirty years, and the root came up within the last 3-5 years (didn't notice till huge split in floor). The tree had a hard pruning probably about the same time. I really want to keep the tree but am afraid of killing it when we cut the root.

ANSWER:

We're really sorry, but we think you're going to have to choose between the tree and the house. Cutting off that root coming through your basement floor will not only probably not kill the tree, but will inspire it to put out fresh roots. And you're telling us this is the second time the roots have invaded your house? This is undermining your foundation, inviting the incursion of termites and rodents, permitting the development of mildew and can only lead to structural damage. You didn't say which was older, the tree or the house, but the tree was planted too close to the house or the house built too close to the tree; either way, one is going to have to go. Tree roots can extend three times the height of the tree, and are relentless in their search for water and nutrients. You should get a licensed, certified arborist to supervise the removal of the tree and then have a structural engineer examine your house to see how much damage has been done and what is needed to correct it.

 

More Trees Questions

Disagreement with HOA on raised beds placed beneath mature oak from Tequesta FL
April 05, 2014 - I have mature 30 year old oak trees on my property and I put a raised bed under each with very good soil and I used pavers for retaining the soil about about 1.5 ft high. I planted a perennial begonia...
view the full question and answer

Distressed Red Oak tree in Pflugerville, TX.
July 22, 2012 - I have a large (40 ft) Red Oak tree in my yard that is distressed. It started with yellowing leaves, with darker veins. Then small brown spots appeared, followed by browning arount the leaves edges. N...
view the full question and answer

Deep Rooted Large Shrub or Small Tree for Driveway Strip
August 21, 2014 - I am in eastern Massachusetts. My condominium Grounds Committee is searching for a small tree suitable to plant in narrow (4'-5') beds which divide two driveways. Can you suggest something whose roo...
view the full question and answer

Sun-scorched Cherry laurel (Prunus caroliniana)
June 24, 2009 - I live in south Central Texas 30 miles north of San Antonio. I am looking for a good evergreen hedge plant that once established will not die if I forget to water it a few days and is deer resistant....
view the full question and answer

Native Trees for Pflugerville TX
September 28, 2013 - I'm looking for suggestions on native, drought tolerant conifers that can be located in a Pflugerville landscape under overhead electric lines. Open to Arizona Cypress, but concerned about the height...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center