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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.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - February 12, 2009

From: Yuma, AZ
Region: Southwest
Topic: Septic Systems
Title: Texas mountain laurel roots and septic systems
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I want to plant a Texas Mountain Laurel tree in our RV Resort. The park must approve new plantings, and they are concerned about any root system that might endanger their septic systems or pipes. They can find no information in their reference material on this tree's roots. Can you provide us with information on the Texas Mountain Laurel root system? Thank you,

ANSWER:

First, you should know that we cannot recommend Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain-laurel) for you project since it is not native to your area.  Instead we hope that you will find a suitable plant that is indiginous to the Yuma, Arizona area.  However, we doubt that the roots of Texas mountain-laurel would be a problem for your RV Resort's septic system.  This species grows in very dry areas and does not perform well in compacted or wet soils.  The roots of this species should not find their way into septic or drainfield pipes.

 

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