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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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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

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