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

Saturday - February 23, 2013

From: Bryan, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Trees
Title: Fan-Tex ash tree roots a problem near house foundation from Bryan TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

DO I need to worry about Fan TX roots being a problem near house foundations?

ANSWER:

We believe you are referring to the Fan-Tex ash tree; please read this previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer on what exactly that tree is. Since it is always a graft onto Fraxinus velutina (Arizona ash), we can only hope that reading our webpage and other information on that native plant would give some indication as to what the roots would do. One article that we read said that the mature tree was too large for residential use, which is not a good omen.

From Colorado State University, here is an article on Healthy Roots and Healthy Trees, We are not sure exactly what "near" is, but a mature tree with a large crown probably has roots growing from 2 to 3 times farther out than the visible crown. When roots come to an obstacle, such as concrete foundation, it will try to grow down below that obstacle, in search of water and nutrients in the soil. When it gets below the foundation, it will slurp out the moisture in the soil, the soil will subside, thus damaging the base for the foundation, and the foundation will crack. This situation is no different for a Fan-Tex than any other tree. You have to decide, which do you want? The tree or the foundation? If you can't plant your tree far enough away from the foundation to permit the tree roots to avoid the foundation then, yes, it is going to be a problem.

 

More Trees Questions

Native species of tree for Rockwall TX
March 19, 2014 - Hello, I am attempting to plant a native species of tree 20 miles east of Dallas, Texas (Rockwall, TX) in honor of my brother's marriage. He is a biologist and a huge supporter of native species....
view the full question and answer

Native holly (ilex) for Austin area
May 28, 2006 - Hi--my brother and his family live in Austin, TX--their german shepard "Holly" just died (she was 13)--I was throwing around the idea of sending them a holly plant of some sort to have in honor of H...
view the full question and answer

How Close to Tree Trunks Should Bricks be Placed?
January 26, 2016 - Do you have guidelines as to how close bricks can be placed to trees, particularly cypress, cedars and live oaks? Contractors habitually plant up to the trunk and I've had trees die from their roots...
view the full question and answer

How can I control underground runners from from Pride of Houston Yaupons in Austin, TX?
July 16, 2010 - How can I control the underground runners from the Pride of Houston Yaupons?
view the full question and answer

Viability of Desert Willow and Hong Kong Orchid Tree in Spring Branch, TX
December 26, 2006 - We live in Spring Branch, Rt 281 north of San Antonio. We want to plant a Regal Desert Willow tree and a Hong Kong Orchid tree. Will the cold / freeze be a problem? Where locally can we purchase th...
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