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

Friday - May 03, 2013

From: Pflugerville, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants, Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Can fibrous roots of Chasmanthium latifolium damage house foundation
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Dear Mr.Ms. S-P, Can the fibrous roots of inland sea oats cause foundation problems? I was digging around my foundation and found a root about 1" in diameter that I am afraid might be from sea oats.

ANSWER:

Chasmanthium latifolium (Inland sea oats), a grass, has a fibrous root system.  The rootlets are very thin and would never be an inch in diameter.  It also has rhizomes (underground modified stems) that allow it to propagate laterally.  Since stolons and rhizomes are modified stems, they are soft (not woody) like the stems that hold the leaves and flowering parts and would be about the same diameter.  So, no, I don't think there is a way that the roots of your sea oats could harm your foundation.   In fact, that inch-in-diameter root that you found is likely from a nearby tree or shrub, but I doubt that it could be one of the rhizomes of the sea oats. 

 

From the Image Gallery


Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

Inland sea oats
Chasmanthium latifolium

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Native grasses for horses in Manor, TX
January 20, 2011 - Hi, Can you tell me which native grasses to plant that would grow (and be drought tolerant) in the Manor area. The area we would like to plant seeds has some sun and part shade. There appear to be so...
view the full question and answer

Practicality of Cedar Elm and buffalo grass in clay soil in East Texas
July 31, 2007 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, I live in Katy Texas on what used to be a rice field. The soil either has a lot of clay in it or in places is just solid clay. Will any kind of buffalo grass grow here? I'v...
view the full question and answer

Replacing grass on steep hill in Georgia
June 16, 2009 - I live near Atlanta, Georgia. My yard is a steep hill, which makes mowing VERY challenging. If possible, I would like to remove the grass and plant something hardy that does not require mowing. What p...
view the full question and answer

Need plants for steep slope in Knoxville, TN.
January 10, 2013 - I have several steep banks that have to be weed-eated each year every week. Do you know if there are any kinds of ground cover that would take over the weeds on these steep dangerous banks. I live in ...
view the full question and answer

Native grasses for chain link fenceline in Nash, TX
April 29, 2009 - I have chain link fence all the way around my yard and I am getting tired of having to weed eat along the fence line. I am looking for some type of year round decorative plant or grass (preferably on...
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
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center