Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Saturday - April 02, 2011

From: Weslaco, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Will roots of non-native Bottlebrush damage foundation in Weslaco TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have a bottle Brush tree planted 2 feet from a brick wall. The condo board told me to remove it for fear that it may crack the foundation of the wall. I don't want to remove it. I believe they are mistaken and the little shade that it provide is all I have in my patio

ANSWER:

Callistemon rigidus, Bottlebrush is native to Australia, and therefore falls out of the realm of our expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which the plants grow natively.

The article linked above says that Bottlebrush grows from 2 to 8 ft. tall, with a 6 to 10 ft. spread. Since the roots of most trees spread out two to three times the circumference of the tree top, it would seem that they are going to bump up against the foundation 2 ft. away. How aggressive those roots would be toward that foundation, we could not find out. While the tree is hardy to USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 11, Hidalgo County is in Zone 9b, and the tree would probably be all right with that.

We have no way of knowing if your Board is correct, that the tree would damage the foundation, but since the tree is probably still small, and not native, you might get along better by purchasing another small native tree and planting it farther away from the foundation. The best idea in that respect is to find out in advance what the Board considers an optimum distance. Measure twice, dig once.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Information about non-native tung tree
November 20, 2010 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, I have a tree growing in my yard in North Austin which I can't identify. I have been told it is a 'tong' or 'tung' tree but can't find it in any reference books. It is de...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of closet plant
August 13, 2008 - I have a closet plant that is old and was doing fine and then started having droopy leaves. It needed to be in a larger pot so I transplanted into a larger pot with new potting soil. It continues to...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native St. Augustine grass in Spring TX
July 09, 2009 - St. Augustine. It's July 6th, 3 weeks ago my grass was green and healthy, today I've got large patches (20' x 3') that are dying. I water my yard 10 mins / day in the morning (5:00 am). It's been...
view the full question and answer

Possible invasiveness of non-native Eragrostis curvula
February 04, 2008 - I have just moved to Keller, TX and am trying to establish a xeriscape plan for our property. I chose to plant weeping love grass as I learned it was a native plant and did not require fertilizing, a...
view the full question and answer

Is Thyme Toxic to Cats?
April 15, 2015 - Is 'Pink Chintz' thyme, the ground cover, toxic to cats?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.