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

Thursday - January 14, 2010

From: Hudson, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Invasive Plants
Title: Will Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) roots cause problems in a leach field?
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

A new neighbor is concerned my Arbovitae's root system will go into his leach field. His house has been there also for the same amount of time as the tree and the field. The tree is 45 years old. Do I have to worry?

ANSWER:

Well, I think if your house and your neighbor's house with its leach field have been there for the 45 years that your  Thuja occidentalis (arborvitae) has been growing and there hasn't been a problem so far, then there isn't likely to be a problem.  Virginia Cooperative Extension has an article, Planting on Your Septic Drain Field, that gives guidelines about distances for planting trees from leach lines.  The article classifies several trees according to their aggressiveness for invading a drain field.  Unfortunately, arborvitae isn't one of the species listed, but I couldn't find any indication that arborvitae is considered to have particularly invasive roots.  The article recommends a distance of 25 to 60 or 70 feet from the leach field depending on the aggressiveness of the tree.  If your arborvitae is closer than 25 feet to your neighbor's field and he is exceptionally worried about its roots invading, you should suggest that he put in a root barrier (see the Virginia Cooperative Extension article above) between his field and your tree.

 

More Invasive Plants Questions

When should I plant bermuda grass seeds?
February 10, 2010 - When should I plant bermuda grass seeds?
view the full question and answer

Japanese honeysuckle invading a backyard habitat in Austin
April 29, 2010 - It has been a few weeks since we have been to our backyard (it is a place in need of desperate attention, but we have been re-landscaping the front yard first). When we went out today to start plannin...
view the full question and answer

Elimination of nutgrass from native flower bed
October 14, 2007 - Nutgrass!*#!* My new bed in NE Austin wraps around a hot sunny SW street corner. Grass wouldn't grow there [I wouldn't water it.] I removed the turf [mostly stickers] to a depth of about 4", carefu...
view the full question and answer

Wild mustard growing in disturbed ground in Montana
August 01, 2008 - I have recently planted "plugs" of wildflowers in beds throughout my yard. Because the soil was disturbed, I now not only have some beautiful wildflowers growing, but also mustard plants growing in ...
view the full question and answer

A method for killing nandina and ligustrum with herbicide
October 19, 2012 - Is there an effective herbicide that can be painted on the stumps of Nandina and Wax-leaf ligustrum to keep them from growing back? Thanks so much!
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center