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neighbor's tree roots!

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2005
by Tamara from Minnesota on October 20, 2005 08:05 AM
This spring I discovered that my neighbor's maple trees (that have made into bushes) were invading my garden with roots. It got worse over the summer and made it difficult to dig my potatoes. I think the potato harvest was also effected. I am putting onions, garlic there next year. Anyway is there anything that can be done about the tree roots? It is REALLY bad. If they were chopped down would it make much of a difference? I wish I could start a new garden at a new house! [Razz]

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by howboutcha on October 20, 2005 08:33 AM
Let me guess those are silver maples right? Typical of them. If I were in your shoes (and since you don't care about the tree)I would dig down to the roots ....right up to your property line and cut them and remove them. If that is not an option could you rotate your garden and put plants that have shallower root systems there? It is a good idea to not grow potatoes in the same spot every year anyway as they are nitrogen leachers. Is that an option?
by Longy on October 21, 2005 01:02 PM
Once you cut the roots at the boundary, or wherever is easiest, there is a product called 'rootgaurd' (or similar) which prevents roots from coming thru. You basically dig a trench, sever the roots and put this matting material in as deep as the topsoil. The roots can't penetrate it and will turn and run along the barrier.

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The secret is the soil.
by Tamara from Minnesota on October 22, 2005 06:06 AM
Wow! I will have some work to do! Thanks and I will get back to this later.

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by Tamara from Minnesota on October 24, 2005 07:43 AM
I know my husband will not like digging in the lawn strip outside the garden. I want to put wildflowers there so maybe I can talk him into it. We could dig far down and chop off the large roots. I already made a garden design for next year. The rooty area will be the onion family and cucumbers and zucchini. Those all have pretty shallow roots. I did not till this spring but used a garden claw in segments at a time. I might have to get a really powerful tiller for these roots next year. What do you think?

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by Longy on October 24, 2005 01:22 PM
Cut the grass out of the soil and put to one side. Cut it in little squares the size if your spade. Then dig the trench with a pick or maddock and trenching shovel. A crowbar may be handy if the soil is hard. Take care of your back. Once you come to a root, sever it each side of the trench with a very sharp spade ot the crowbar. Continue until you are a few inches deeper than the deepest roots. "Stand " some rootgaurd in the trench. Sort of have it too high so it hangs out the top of the trench and you can weigh it down with soil. Then backfill the trench, cutoff the excess rootgaurd and replace the grass turf. You'll never know you were there. The roots that are in the garden bed will rot after being severed unless they are a type of tree that sends up 'suckers' in which case they will need to be removed.
Shadecloth or weedmat would possibly suffice if you can't get rootgaurd.

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The secret is the soil.

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