Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

Plants for indoor container gardening from Lax Vegas NV
May 10, 2013 - What is an good flower to grow in a pot? I live in a apt., and like roses,tulips etc. if that helps any.
view the full question and answer

Foxglove safety from England
April 21, 2013 - Hi, regarding safety of foxgloves grown near edible plants - foxgloves are good companion plants for vegetables, in case of root vegetables they improve their storage life and quality. Foxgloves prote...
view the full question and answer

Native vs Non-native Insect Host Plants
March 14, 2013 - My understanding of a host plant is that it is a plant that an insect will lay its eggs on. Is this correct? If this is so then can a cultivar be a host plant for the same insect? I have read Mr. Doug...
view the full question and answer

Bloom color change in Choctaw Crape Myrtle
July 30, 2007 - In 2006 my wife bought a Choctaw Crape Myrtle from a local nursery. It had a tag from Greenleaf Nursery and had several blooms in the "correct" pink color. The plant was 5-6 ft tall. It has grown...
view the full question and answer

Non-native Callistemon damaged by freeze in Katy TX
March 30, 2010 - O.K. Smarty pants, Callistemon bought here in Houston Texas froze and will they recover after the freeze? The huge tree is totally brown and about five years old. Do we cut them back or do the leaves ...
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.