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

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

Pruning non-native oleanders
September 28, 2011 - I have an oleander that has become to "leggy". I read the pruning instructions, but where I want to prune, there are not any leaf nodes. Can I trim below at the base, or will I hurt the plant? I ...
view the full question and answer

When (and whether) to plant non-native red-tip photinia in Austin
October 30, 2011 - With the current and forecast drought I'm wondering if the usual rules about when to plant might change. I'd like to plant red-tip photinia.
view the full question and answer

Potted non-native mimosas in the U.S.
July 12, 2009 - We need I hope there is someone who could tell me where I could find potted mimosa plants in the US.
view the full question and answer

Penta and licorice plants for Austin
May 04, 2009 - For Austin location Are you familiar with a small flowering plant called Penta? How about Licorice? If yes, could you provide growing conditions. Thanks
view the full question and answer

Disease problems of non-native Weeping Willow
August 16, 2006 - Could you please tell me why my weeping willow has got pink coloured leaves and seems very dry the bark is splitting and seems full of wood worm?
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