Smoke bushes are famous for gardeners looking to add visual interest to their landscapes.
But if you're worried about their roots causing problems, you'll be happy to know that smoke bushes are generally considered non-invasive. So add a touch of elegance to your yard with a smoke bush, knowing it won't cause any harm.
However, choosing a suitable variety of smoke bushes for your needs and environment is essential. Some varieties may be better suited for small yards or urban areas, while others may thrive in larger, rural settings.
Consulting with a professional landscaper or arborist can also provide valuable insights and help address any concerns about potential root damage or other issues.
What is Smoke Bush?
Smoke bush, a smoke tree or Cotinus coggygria, is a deciduous shrub or small tree native to southern Europe and central China.
It is a popular garden plant due to its unique and attractive features, including purple-pink smokey plumes and the purple leaves on some cultivars.
Smoke bush has an upright, multi-stemmed habit and can grow up to 20 feet tall and 5 feet wide. The leaves of smoke bush are waxy green, except for those cultivars with purple leaves.
The smoky pink flowers are showy, wispy, and airy and appear mid-summer. Smoke bush is a drought-tolerant plant that can grow as a larger shrub or even a smaller tree.
Smoke Bush Varieties
Several varieties of smoke bushes are available, each with unique features. Some of the popular smoke bush varieties include:
- Royal Purple - This variety has deep purple leaves that turn scarlet in the fall. It produces pinkish-purple flowers in the summer.
- Golden Spirit - This cultivar has lime-green leaves that turn golden-yellow in the fall. It produces pinkish-purple flowers in the summer.
- Grace - This variety has green leaves that turn yellow-orange in the fall. It produces pinkish-purple flowers in the summer.
Smoke bush is an excellent option if you are looking for a purple shrub or bush to add to your garden!
Related Post: 17 Purple Shrubs And Bushes
Does Smoke Bush Have Invasive Roots?
While smoke bush is generally considered a low-maintenance plant, it's essential to understand its root system and growth habits before adding it to your landscape.
Unlike some trees and shrubs with invasive root systems, smoke bush does not typically cause problems with underground pipes or structures. Its roots are not particularly aggressive, and they are unlikely to cause damage to nearby sidewalks, driveways, or other hardscaping features.
However, it's still a good idea to plant smoke bushes at least a few feet away from structures or hardscaping to be safe. This will give the plant plenty of room to grow without interfering with your property.
If you give it the right growing conditions and keep an eye on its growth habits, it should thrive in your garden without causing any problems.
Managing Smoke Bush Roots
One way to manage smoke bush roots is to plant the shrub safely from any buildings or retaining walls.
According to Washington State University, proper spacing and positioning of shrubs in the landscape are pivotal for ensuring their healthy growth and longevity. Check these tips for more information:
Planting Near a House
These don't grow very tall. Keep them 2 feet from your house so they have space to grow and won't trap moisture against your home.
They need 3 feet of space from the house, ensuring enough room to grow and allowing air to flow.
These can grow big! Keep them 4 to 5 feet away from the house to avoid potential problems, like branches reaching your windows.
Spacing Between Different Shrubs
If you have a shrub that will grow up to 8 feet high and another that will reach 6 feet, put them 7 feet apart. This ensures they have room to grow without overlapping or pushing against each other.
Another option for managing smoke bush roots is to plant the shrub in a container or raised bed. This can help contain the roots and prevent them from spreading too far.
However, it's essential to choose a container or bed that is large enough to accommodate the root system and allow for proper drainage.
If you're concerned about the potential for smoke bush roots to damage a retaining wall or other structure, you can take steps to reinforce the wall or install a root barrier.
A root barrier is a physical barrier made of plastic or other materials installed between the roots and the wall or structure. This can help prevent the roots from growing into the wall and causing damage.
Impact on Biodiversity
What Can I Plant Around a Smoke Bush?
If you want to increase biodiversity around your smoke bush, consider planting native species that provide food and habitat for wildlife. Here are some options:
- Eastern redbud: This small tree produces pink or purple flowers in early spring and provides food for bees and other pollinators. It also serves as a host plant for the Henry's elfin butterfly.
- Serviceberry: This shrub produces white flowers in spring and edible berries in summer. It is a host plant for several species of moths and butterflies.
- Virginia Creeper: This vine provides a habitat for birds and small mammals and produces berries eaten by birds. It also has attractive fall foliage.
- Goldenrod: This wildflower provides nectar for bees and other pollinators and is a host plant for several butterflies.
Smoke bush is a beautiful and low-maintenance addition to any garden or landscape. While it is true that some varieties of smoke bush can have invasive roots, this can be easily managed through regular pruning and root barriers.
Don't worry; smoke bush is a versatile and hardy plant that can thrive in various growing conditions.
You'll be rewarded with its breathtaking foliage and distinctive texture by giving this plant the care and attention it deserves. Ready to embrace its beauty? Start nurturing it today!
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