I have a huge Hollyhock growing next to my gas meter up
against the cement foundation of my house (wood floor
house with crawl space). Does this Hollyhock present
an kind of danger to either 1) the gas meter, 2) the gas
pipes, and/or 3) the foundation of my house?
I want to make sure the roots do not affect the gas meter
or its lines and make sure the roots do not crack my foundation.
I can't give you expert advice. However, I had a few Hollyhocks for
years and made sure I didn't plant them along the house just in case the
roots might cause damage to the foundation. I lost all the Hollyhocks
over time from either too much moisture or squirrels digging them up in
early spring. The Hollyhocks were behind a patch of daisies and some
lupines and I dug underground and clipped the roots every year so they
wouldn't grow into the other plants. Some of the roots were pretty thick
and strong, so I would imagine they could potentially cause damage to
the foundation. I wouldn't want them near my gas meter lines to be on
the safe side. I bet you could Google this to get the answer.
Anne in Albany, NY
If the foundation is structurally sound, even large tree roots are not
inclined to damage. Certainly the roots of a herbaceous perennial/
biennial like the hollyhocks would pose NO concerns whatsoever. Nor
would these roots have any impact on underground lines.
The issues that can be present with tree roots tend to be focused on
particular species that are notorious for aggressive growth habits and/
or seek out water, like poplars, willows, some larger maples, etc. And
even then, damage to foundations or penetration is restricted to
foundations that may already be cracked or structurally compromised.
Foundational damage is more often related to soil types, with
particular respect to heavy or clay soils that may experience
significant expansion or shrinkage in wet or dry periods.
With the exception of some very aggressive bamboos, smaller plants
like perennials and most shrubs pose absolutely NO danger to
structurally sound foundations, intact undergound plumbing or other
Unlike pussywillow hollyhock roots are not invasive so I doubt it can
harm anything but itself... now is a good time to relocate your plant
to a more hospitable home away from foundations but you need to dig up
a ball of earth with as much of the tap root as possible, replant
immediately and water well. If you soak the ground well for a day or
two it should dig easily.
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