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

Selection of a small variety of Desert Willow for SE Texas
August 02, 2011 - Looking to plant desert willow as shrub. Any helpful tips to keep height down and plant full or bushy.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Chamaecyparis pisiflora turning brown in Fuqua-Varina NC
December 10, 2012 - I have a "Soft Serve False Cypress" Chamaecyparis pisifera'Dow Whiting PPAF, that has only been in the ground for 6-7 months. I just noticed that the branches and leaves are starting to die, turni...
view the full question and answer

Shrubs and trees over septic tank in Killen AL
May 20, 2013 - Our church has 5year old blue rug juniper, a crape myrtle and two shrubs I can't identify planted over the septic tank which is surrounded with concrete and asphalt. I am afraid these will cause a pr...
view the full question and answer

Mountain ash seedlings in Yorkshire, England
May 25, 2008 - Is there any way I can stop Mountain Ash from seeding in my garden. This year in particular, I am absolutely overrun with the seedlings and once they get a hold they are difficult to remove.
view the full question and answer

Variegated leaves on Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye)
April 11, 2007 - I grew some mexican buckeyes from seed last year and one of them has variegated leaves. I haven't seen this before- have I just not looked at enough mexican buckeyes up close or is this an uncommon f...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center