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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.

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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.

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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!

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Wednesday - July 01, 2015

From: East Berlin, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Vines
Title: Safe to plant Wisteria frutescens near a foundation?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I am interested in planting a Wisteria frutescens 'Nivea'. It will be next to a house foundation wall. Could you tell me what type of root system it has? Would it be a root that would damage the foundation wall?

ANSWER:

Wisteria species are famously agressive, woody, climbing vines.  The Asian species of wisteria have been known to choke to death large trees and destroy strong arbors.  Our native wisteria, Wisteria frutescens, is more mild-mannered than its Asian cousins, but it should still be respected for the potential damage it can do.

No wisterias -- native or introduced -- should be planted close to a foundation or septic lines.  Their roots are every bit as agressive as their tops and can cause very expensive below-ground damage.

 

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