En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Eradicating trumpet vine runners in Austin
April 29, 2012 - How do I eradicate trumpet vine runners from my lawn? Will it kill my pecan tree?
view the full question and answer

Why is Common Horehound missing from NPIN?
March 27, 2014 - Hi there, I am not able to find Marrubium vulgare, i.e. Common or White Horehound, in the Native Plant Database. It grows abundantly on our ranch in Central Texas, and I am attempting to grow i...
view the full question and answer

Growing bluebonnets in England
June 08, 2008 - I'm sending some bluebonnet seeds to Norwich England to a dear friend. What time of year should she plant them?
view the full question and answer

Controlling Passionflora Incarnata propagation
March 20, 2012 - Would a cinderblock raised bed, 8 inches in height, be sufficient to contain the roots of passiflora incarnata and keep them from traveling to places where I don't want the vine? Are the roots deepe...
view the full question and answer

Japanese Wineberry in Maryland
July 16, 2014 - Hello, we were at Cunningham Falls in Maryland and I can not identify this plant. If you could I would greatly appreciate it, thank you. It looks like a raspberry but the berries are inside small leav...
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 | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center