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

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 Problem Plants Questions

Getting rid of Adams needle (Yucca filamentosa)
June 24, 2009 - My friend is changing her flower beds around and is wanting to eliminate an Adam's needle that has been there for several years. She has already dug it up and now is trying to get rid of all the new...
view the full question and answer

Killing oak sprouts from El Paso TX
August 16, 2011 - I want to know how to kill oak root sprouts and seedlings. Very dense and out-of-control in huge area of front lawn. I had tree cut down and I still cannot get rid of them. They're only getting wors...
view the full question and answer

Removing Persimmon plants from the base of Live oaks
October 15, 2015 - I live in Bastrop county and have hundreds of Texas wild persimmons at the base of my huge oak trees. Should I cut some of them? I am worried they are taking up water my oaks need. I like them but do...
view the full question and answer

Disposal of bulbs to control Arrowhead aquatic plant
August 29, 2006 - How can I kill Arrowhead permanently? I have sprayed repeated years with Roundup, Crossbow, etc., but the arrowhead comes back from the bulb the next year!
view the full question and answer

Defense against poison ivy from The Woodlands TX
March 24, 2014 - Hi and thank you in advance for your help. My husband is allergic to Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac, or something in our yard. We need someone who is very knowledgeable to come and identify any poisonous pla...
view the full question and answer

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