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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - February 26, 2009

From: Sugar Land, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Roots of Savannah Holly close to house
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I live in Sugar Land and want to plant Savannah Holly at the ends of both sides of the front flowerbed. Are the roots too dangerous to plant so close to the house? (How far from the house should they be?)If so what do you suggest.

ANSWER:

We could not find Savannah holly in our Native Plant Database, but found this USDA Forest Service site Ilex x attenuata 'Savannah'. The "x" indicates it is a hybrid, which excludes it from being considered a native plant.  The USDA site says that roots are rarely invasive due to their great numbers and relatively small diameter. On the subject of roots, we found this website The Dirt Doctor-Howard Garrett on Savannah Holly in which he indicates caution should be used when planting container plants to avoid girdling of the roots, and has pictures to illustrate the problem. Our real concern with planting the Savannah holly close to your house is not so much with the roots and the foundation, but with the size and height of the plant as it grows. Read the indications on the USDA site on expected growth rate, height and width and make your decision from that on how far to plant the shrub from your house.

 

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