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Roots...information....

Post  jimmy cee on 10/28/2014, 9:24 pm

After finishing my 1st re-do of #2 bed I decided to try a start on # 3 bed.
The weather has been so nice I just couldn't stop today and almost completed when darkness appeared.
This is the end of my 2nd season with SFG, a very disappointing one I might add, the culprit is roots from a nearby locust tree.
I have 5 beds of like size that I am going to create a space between the foundation and the bed itself.
I'm considering this a very important topic for those who are starting to make their beds..
Heed the warning if trees are nearby, don't go through what I am now doing..
Here is my proof.
Next few pictures are above the weed barrier as I was emptying the M.M. from the bed





The next few are just above the weed barrier

next three are with weed barrier removed



next are fine roots removed from the bed ( partial )


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Re: Roots...information....

Post  sanderson on 10/28/2014, 10:03 pm

" I'm considering this a very important topic for those who are starting to make their beds..
Heed the warning if trees are nearby, don't go through what I am now doing.."

What a Face  Nothing like photos to show what can happen.  Good job! This is also the end of the 2nd season for me and I am very happy that I got them raised before winter (except one with healthy beans).  Your roots are really thick.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  Zmoore on 9/17/2015, 10:02 am

AHHHH!!!! They got me too!  Second year also!  I Started "SFG" about a year ago.  I put "SFG" in parenthesis, because I had read the book, but I kind of just went with the idea as a general rule, didn't sweat the details.  I used 12" boxes instead of 6", I skipped putting down weed fabric, in part because where I was putting them was bare anyway.  I mean nothing was growing there, what do I need weed fabric for?  Yeah, there's a tree not far away, but I didn't see any roots.  Anyway, I filled boxes with a decent sandy topsoil and compost mix (I know, sacrilege!, it's not MM).  First year was o.k. and then I expanded this year adding more boxes, but following the SFG a little closer.  My first beds from the previous year didn't do very well this year.  Hmmm, what's the problem? 
So, once the plants were done in those boxes I decided the problem was compost, so I brought in my homemade compost and covered the top of the box and then thought I'm going to really dig down and mix this deep in the soil now and let that sit over the winter and then I'll add more next spring before planting. I get to digging and of course I'm digging up roots from the plants this year... boy those roots sure are tough...boy there sure are a lot of them all over the place...crap.  
I'm in process of digging all the soil completely out so I can install a weed barrier in the bottom.  Then I'll put it all back.  Hope I end up with a success story like Jimmy had after "repair".  It's only two of them about 6X4.  I have one dug completely out and I have the weed fabric in the back of the truck, now all I need is some time to do the work Smile  
Anyway, confirmed, tree roots can be a problem.  Weed barrier a good idea.  My plants started off good this year and then started getting yellow and looking weak for some reason.  Figured I didn't have enough nutrients/compost in the bed, which maybe could have been part of it, but I now believe all those tree roots were "helping" to suck out all the nutrients and water that I did put in the bed.  Not to mention it makes the soils "tougher" or "tighter", all those roots are like reinforcement for the soil.
Work in progress, maybe I'll have some pictures later.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/17/2015, 11:23 am

When I lived in Southern California, I had an olive and a hibiscus tree removed from my back yard to create more space and light for my SFG.

There also was ivy growing around the perimeter of the yard.  

Long story short, after a couple of years, I noticed declining yields, and when I was attempting to add compost and re-plant, there were so many roots to dig out! Piles and piles of them! I hacked at the ivy as best I could and cut the larger roots I found.

Eventually, things settled down somewhat.  

Weed cloth is no protection against tree roots!

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  sanderson on 9/17/2015, 12:19 pm

@donnainzone5 wrote:Weed cloth is no protection against tree roots!

Zmoore,  The tree roots will continue to come back, even through weed fabric.  Sad   I think elevating beds off the ground is the only permanent solution, unfortunately. It's extra work, extra expense, but only a one time event. Maybe you can get one bed elevated this fall and the other next spring??

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  Scorpio Rising on 9/17/2015, 6:38 pm

How close are these trees? I have a pear tree probably 40 ft away, and my boxes have partial wooden bottoms. My first year with this set up. Very wet area. Lots of water for the tree. Maybe too much.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  jimmy cee on 9/17/2015, 9:52 pm

@Zmoore wrote:AHHHH!!!! They got me too!  Second year also!  I Started "SFG" about a year ago.  I put "SFG" in parenthesis, because I had read the book, but I kind of just went with the idea as a general rule, didn't sweat the details.  I used 12" boxes instead of 6", I skipped putting down weed fabric, in part because where I was putting them was bare anyway.  I mean nothing was growing there, what do I need weed fabric for?  Yeah, there's a tree not far away, but I didn't see any roots.  Anyway, I filled boxes with a decent sandy topsoil and compost mix (I know, sacrilege!, it's not MM).  First year was o.k. and then I expanded this year adding more boxes, but following the SFG a little closer.  My first beds from the previous year didn't do very well this year.  Hmmm, what's the problem? 
So, once the plants were done in those boxes I decided the problem was compost, so I brought in my homemade compost and covered the top of the box and then thought I'm going to really dig down and mix this deep in the soil now and let that sit over the winter and then I'll add more next spring before planting. I get to digging and of course I'm digging up roots from the plants this year... boy those roots sure are tough...boy there sure are a lot of them all over the place...crap.  
I'm in process of digging all the soil completely out so I can install a weed barrier in the bottom.  Then I'll put it all back.  Hope I end up with a success story like Jimmy had after "repair".  It's only two of them about 6X4.  I have one dug completely out and I have the weed fabric in the back of the truck, now all I need is some time to do the work Smile  
Anyway, confirmed, tree roots can be a problem.  Weed barrier a good idea.  My plants started off good this year and then started getting yellow and looking weak for some reason.  Figured I didn't have enough nutrients/compost in the bed, which maybe could have been part of it, but I now believe all those tree roots were "helping" to suck out all the nutrients and water that I did put in the bed.  Not to mention it makes the soils "tougher" or "tighter", all those roots are like reinforcement for the soil.
Work in progress, maybe I'll have some pictures later.
Zmoore
A weed barrier isn't going to do it with tree roots, I had that plus a small gauge wire mesh, I grew through the weed barrier and pushed aside the hardware.   Also your doing yourself a great dis service my not making up your own Mel's Mix, Heck you've got your own compost, your 90% there...The only way to combat tree roots is move the bed, (it better be far away), cut tree down, or elevate beds.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  CapeCoddess on 9/18/2015, 1:03 pm

Will cutting down the tree really help? We may be taking down a pine that is within 10 ft of my SFG - no invasive roots yet, thank goodness. The thing is, I've seen new sprouts trying to grow up from old stumps and wondered if the roots are still as active once the tree is gone.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  plantoid on 9/18/2015, 4:31 pm

CC ,
If you cut a tree to a stump  you normally also cut a nose end of the chainsaw cross in the stump and pour in some stump killer mixed with a drop of paraffin or white spirit

 You can also  have floor sited beds despite loads of nutrient robbing trees but it's wise to lay some sand down on a plastic sheet, level it out perfectly  and then put concrete paving slabs on it , then place your  SFG frame on the slabs . The slab base only needs to be four inches bigger than the overall size of the frames

 Or you can do what I did  ,if you choose to have brick built beds on solid concrete foundation slab .

 Every 5th or so brick on the bottom two rows  have the vertical mortar missing in the joint between the bricks  to make water weep holes .

Roots shouldn't ever manage to grow through the 6 inches of screeded down quality concrete and the beds should never get water logged due to the placing of all the weep holes.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  jimmy cee on 9/18/2015, 10:10 pm

In the Back to Eden movie, wasn't it mentioned that roots bring up nutrients from below and send to leaves. Then leaves absorb energy from air and sun to help roots grow. ? If that wasn't stated there then I have read it in one of my books.  Take a tree down to a stump and it's done, take roots away from a tree and it is done. One can't  live without the other..

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  sanderson on 9/19/2015, 1:51 am

Some tree and bush roots, including roses will send up suckers, even for years. Ask me how I know.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  camprn on 9/19/2015, 5:44 am


____________________________

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  donnainzone5 on 9/19/2015, 11:50 am

My former olive tree sent up shoots for a couple of years after it was removed. Probably portions of root were left.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  Zmoore on 9/21/2015, 11:02 am

Well, that's just great.  Oh well.  Digging up in process and almost done.  I'll let it ride a year or too and then next cycle will be to raise the beds.
The culprits.  Not as bad as Jimmy had and that's not all of them, just some I pulled out of the pile after I dug it all up.


"Repaired Bed" with filter cloth and dirt back.


On the "plus" side, now my old bed has compost better incorporated into the soil, which was my original goal when I started and then discovered the tree roots.  Below is my untested "home made" compost that I'm adding to the beds.  Might turn out to be poor, but it sure looks and smells good.  Fingers crossed for next year.  
 

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  jimmy cee on 9/22/2015, 7:41 am

Zmoore
Keep at it with that compost, in my opinion that's the secret to growing.
Here's a nice read if you're interested, technical but very easy to understand.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  Zmoore on 10/5/2015, 10:33 am

HOLY SMOKES JIMMY!! Smile
I got your suggested book over the weekend and just started reading.  Really interesting, but wow!  I'm not past the technical stuff yet, but it is fascinating so far.  Who knew something that seems so simple could be so complex.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  camprn on 10/5/2015, 12:49 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:Zmoore
Keep at it with that compost, in my opinion that's the secret to growing.
Here's a nice read if you're interested, technical but very easy to understand.
Nice Jimmy. I have an original copy.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  camprn on 10/5/2015, 12:51 pm

@Zmoore wrote:HOLY SMOKES JIMMY!! Smile
I got your suggested book over the weekend and just started reading.  Really interesting, but wow!  I'm not past the technical stuff yet, but it is fascinating so far.  Who knew something that seems so simple could be so complex.
And then there is this.... http://compost.css.cornell.edu/

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  jimmy cee on 10/5/2015, 10:07 pm

Hi Zmoore
Complex yes, however fairly easy to understand, the more I work with it ( compost ) the more I get to understand how it works. Now for the kicker.
My next set of books sent me into a world I never even considered existed. I love reading technical books even though I never understand fully what I'm reading.
But then that sends me into searching for answers to questions I have and even others have.
The association between plants and insects is so incredible, it's beyond belief.
This past season I eliminated any pesticide use, I never used much and feel fortunate for that.
I thought of bugs as I once did with snakes, the only good one was a dead one. Well these 2 books changed my opinion 180 deg. I'm finding myself collecting and trying to determine what it is.
This entire science of gardening is an incredible topic, I love learning as I move along.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  jimmy cee on 10/5/2015, 10:16 pm

@camprn wrote:
@jimmy cee wrote:Zmoore
Keep at it with that compost, in my opinion that's the secret to growing.
Here's a nice read if you're interested, technical but very easy to understand.
Nice Jimmy. I have an original copy.
Hi Camprn
I think all of Rodale's books have great information, I had a few other that I never knew about till I started looking through my selection.. I tend to collect tech books, if I have them, Then I believed I should have know everything that was in them without reading...Sort of gave me a sense of false security.  crazy thinking huh ?

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  Kelejan on 10/6/2015, 12:52 am

jimmy cee "This entire science of gardening is an incredible topic, I love learning as I move along."

It's what keeps us young, jimmy.  There are so many interesting things to learn that there may not be time enough so we have to keep going. Very Happy

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  jimmy cee on 10/6/2015, 7:58 am

@Kelejan wrote:jimmy cee "This entire science of gardening is an incredible topic, I love learning as I move along."

It's what keeps us young, jimmy.  There are so many interesting things to learn that there may not be time enough so we have to keep going. Very Happy
So true, that old saying, " youth is wasted on the young" is very true in my life. If I had it to do over I would have gone in another direction... better late than never though.

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Re: Roots...information....

Post  camprn on 10/6/2015, 11:48 am

I can tell when one of my beds has been infiltrated by the mass of root hairs; the usual giveaway is that nothing will grow there, or be very stunted in it's growth.. I am lifting at least two boxes during this season of tidying up.

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Roots...information....

Post  CapeCoddess on 10/6/2015, 11:56 am

I'm beginning to suspect that I have a couple of infiltrated boxes.  Had terrible growth in them this year.  Guess I should dig down soon and see.
Sad
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Re: Roots...information....

Post  Marc Iverson on 10/6/2015, 3:01 pm

@jimmy cee wrote:
@Kelejan wrote:jimmy cee "This entire science of gardening is an incredible topic, I love learning as I move along."

It's what keeps us young, jimmy.  There are so many interesting things to learn that there may not be time enough so we have to keep going. Very Happy
So true, that old saying, " youth is wasted on the young" is very true in my life. If I had it to do over I would have gone in another direction... better late than never though.

So true, me too.

There are a couple of fun sayings that go with that, though:

"Isn't it a shame that good looks, money, and education are so often wasted on the slow?" -- Robert Kraft

"A lot of people who wish they only knew then what they know now, did." (can't remember who said it)

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