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

Source of dry molasses near Mason, Texas
June 21, 2015 - Can you guys point me to a local source of dry molasses? I can get 50 lb bags from Amazon but shipping cost is almost double the cost of the product. I want to try it as a supplement to mechanical con...
view the full question and answer

Identity of plant that smells like oranges in Alpine, TX
August 16, 2012 - There are patches of flat bushy like plants in lawn, smells like orange. Areas may be 10" and spreading, but when pulled has small root. How can I get rid of this plant and what is it?
view the full question and answer

Identity of and how to get rid of plant in planter in Indiana
May 17, 2013 - We moved to Mooresville Ind. (Brooklyn area) 3 yrs ago. In one of the 12x12 planters out back, these one THINGS keep cutting back and spreading everywhere. They are tall, hollow stem, seems like ther...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
view the full question and answer

Aggressive Frogfruit
September 17, 2009 - I have frogfruit voluntarily growing in my flower beds. I had intended to use it as a ground cover but am concerned that it is taking over. Will it kill (smother) my flowers that I have planted for bu...
view the full question and answer

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