Author Topic: Root invasion into vege garden  (Read 2040 times)

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Offline Matt

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Root invasion into vege garden
« on: January 08, 2017, 02:10:19 AM »
Hi all
I set up a really nice garden with the help of people from this forum about 15 months ago. We have 3 raised garden beds 3.4M x 1.2M all under a walk in shadecloth structure.
At first our veges were doing great, all out of control record breaking stuff (for our street anyway).
Over time, things have slowly degraded.
Everything, absolutely everything bolts.
All root veges are warped and twisted and branch off and are deformed.
We don't suffer insect attacks
We condition the soil and add compost regularly
we are well drained
we are under shadecloth to protect from sun and wind (shadecloth goes right around sides and top)
we have automatic watering via a bore and mini irrigation system
bore water had been tested for ph and other things and is all fine
soil ph tested and fine

what we do have is millions fo small roots which seem to be coming up (yes up) into our garden beds.
we have completely taken the soil out, got all the roots out (they are almost like cobwebs they are so thick and matted together, some the thickness of a pencil)
in the neighbours yard, there is a high palp tree only a metre from our boundary fence, our garden is only 50cm on our side of that fence.
growing up that palm tree, is a vine with kid of heart shaped leaves, I guess the leaves around 30cm long and 20cm wide, shiny dark green. there are hundreds of  vine roots feeding the vine as it goes up the palm tree and along the boundary fence.
I suspect these are going underground and up into our garden beds.

should we have installed weedmat in our beds before filling them and would this stop those roots? If necessary I will dig them all out and install and start again.

Is this why all root veges are sush a disaster and everything eventually bolts (most times before we even get a first harvest)?

I will try to post some pics tomorrow but this is a start.

Weve put so much effort into building this garden were not going to let this beat us.




Offline rowan

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2017, 05:21:05 AM »
Looks like you will have to start again with a weedmat liner.
When you say that everything eventually bolts - is it normal bolting that every vegetable does when it is mature, or are they bolting as soon as you plant them?

Could you post a pic of these roots? Often 'roots' that look like cobwebs and are matted turn out to be mycelium which is a good fungus most of the time. I suspect your problem is your soil as much as the invasive roots (if they are not mycelium). I might need more information before giving better advice.
Casterton, Victoria
Rare and unusual vegetable seed farm

Offline Raymondo

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2017, 10:08:55 AM »
I think if some of the roots are pencil size then it's not mycelium, or at least not just mycelium. Palm trees have dense fibrous roots. The vine sounds like it might be ivy of some sort. Ivy roots are also dense and fibrous. Nightmare!
If you do decide to redo the beds with a liner make sure you do your research and buy a suitable product, one that will definitely stop roots. Some weedmats are not fit for purpose.
Just an thought ... you might consider turning your raised beds into wicking beds by a suitable choice of liner.
Ray, gardening on an old flood plain with clay loam from 30 to 60 cm deep over clay.

Offline rowan

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2017, 10:31:43 AM »
I doubt it is the palm roots as they are usually pretty polite, I would guess it is the climbing plant roots, but with leaves that big I don't know that it would be an ivy.
Casterton, Victoria
Rare and unusual vegetable seed farm

Offline Templeton

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2017, 12:44:30 PM »
Matt,
I did a raised bed lined with black plastic a few years ago. First year, great, then next spring stuff just didn't grow well. same as you, roots from a big tree nearby. Trees can sniff out nutrients and water, and then put lots of resources in the form of roots to extract as much as they can.
I'm guessing that the invasive roots are sucking most of the nutrients out of the soil, and moisture, and starving your crops, which bolt due to stress.
As Raymondo says, be careful with root barrier, you need good stuff. I was so careful installing the black plastic, but after a year the roots had found a way in. One hole, then filled the whole bed from there.
Wicking beds might work - but then i don't know what their useful life is.


In my raised beds outside where i have espalier fruit trees nearby, i turn the beds to a deep spade depth twice a year when i change over crops. I'm really thorough with my digging, digging as deep as the spade will go, and making sure the entire bed is carefully dug over and turned, and any roots severed or pulled from the soil. this doesn't stop the tree roots, but it certainly sets them back, allowing me to grow good crops.

Offline Grub

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2017, 09:40:42 PM »
I have a similar problem with both a nearby oak tree and probably to a lesser degree my hedge invading beds. The fine roots are feeder roots which come up from thicker roots below - these are the ones you want to block or sever. Things I've done:

Dig down a spade's length once a season between the fence and the bed. I have considered also putting a barrier there but it's going to be a lot of work and I'll probably need to get a trenching shovel first.
Dig over the bed breaking up the roots. It's backbreaking working and violates any kind of no-till system I want to do but it's the only way to get a vegie garden at the moment.

At the end of this season I plan to put down non woven geotextile fabric between the gravel layer (which has turned out to be a pretty useless root barrier) and the soil. From what I've read tree roots have a harder time penetrating this than weed mat or black plastic etc. and the other advantage is that water can drain through it.
Cool region, Canberra. Courtyard and balcony gardener.
http://actgarden.blogspot.com/

Offline Matt

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 12:38:23 AM »
Thanks for the replies all. I,m away working and have the wife on the case of getting the pics which will show more than I can explain. I'll have some tomorrow. The biggest of the roots is the size of a pencil, most are smaller. I think our soil is good, and every few months I top up with a bag of searles vege mix compost. I don't over compact. I don't even get first harvest before my plants bolt - for example: broccoli and cauliflowrs, the heads starting looking nice , big healthy plants, and we got nowhere near harvesting them and they started reaching for the stars and seeding.

Offline rowan

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 05:09:36 AM »
If they started bolting in spring after growing through the winter it is natural for them to bolt at that time and there is nothing you can do to stop it. If this is the case then start them earlier in the autumn, or in summer and have them all eaten by the end of winter.
Casterton, Victoria
Rare and unusual vegetable seed farm

Offline Templeton

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 11:13:43 AM »
Good point, Rowan.
T

Offline Matt

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 02:48:46 PM »
OK heres some pics.
What I might suggest to neighbour is to rip that vine out and replace with a passionfruit. My parents have a really nice passionfruit, its got nice smelling white flowers and great fruit and shiny dark green leaves is a nice looking plant but also spreads real quick. How are the roots on these?
for the weedmat, I know people say it doesn't work.....but ill buy full lengths, wide enough so there are no joins. then lay 3 layers of it in each bed, all the way up the sides even. no holes. Will the water still drain though good enough or will I end up with root rot then?
My beds are 2 sleepers width high each, 2400 x 1200 long each.
I will dump all the soil out of each, then dig down 10cm, then lay the weedmat in. what the best one to get? Should I lay anything under the weedmat?

Can I re-use the old soil...the only thing it is pretty tangled with those roots. But they will all die and turn to compost anyway wont they? (once I lay the mat then re-introduce the soil/sand mix I have.We put a lot of time into that soil same to throw it, and a big job to do that too. But if that's the best thing.........we only want to do this once. We put so much time and effort into this proooject so far we don't wanna give up. I even coimpletely redid the garden beds after initially doing them in treated pine sleeprs and finding out this was no good and redoing in hardwood....then adding the greenhouse, then the water bore, then the automatic irrigation.
Okay....failing all this....and if it comes to it. Whats the best way to dispose of that vine (if that is the culprit) unsuspiciously?
I don't have photos of the garden bed with the roots in it, but trust me, they are like cobwebs, cant even turn a spade in it.
Thanks again.


Offline Matt

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2017, 02:53:19 PM »
Also, on the bolting thing, everything we have seems to bolt now. Maybe the heat, I dunno. We are on the sunshine coast, sub-tropical. but I do have that kick-ass greenhouse, and a local greenthumb told me I should be able to grow year round in that. dunno if its right or not though.
Thanks again
Matt

Offline DrSmurto

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2017, 03:27:57 PM »
Definitely go geotextile over weed matting if you want to keep the roots out. Weed matting is far too flimsy, geotextile is designed to protect drainage pipes from roots. I use geotextile in my wicking beds to keep the soil and plant roots out of the reservoir. Works very well. All of the native garden beds I've covered with weed matting and mulch has huge amounts of grasses growing through it. Useless stuff.

Offline rowan

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 03:39:30 PM »
I suspect that you will have to pay more for root barrier material. I use geofabric a lot and it will not keep out those roots.

You can ask your neighbour to remove the vine but s/he does not have to. Most bylaws state that you can remove roots on your side but you cannot kill your neighbours plant unsuspiciously or not, and do you want to be on bad terms with your neighbour.

Nice set up by the way :)
Casterton, Victoria
Rare and unusual vegetable seed farm

Offline rowan

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2017, 03:40:59 PM »
It does not matter where you live or whether you have a greenhouse, your vegetables will bolt after winter as that is their lifecycle. Most vegetables are not perennial. When people say you can grow all year round it doesn't meant that annual or biennial plants will suspend their natural cycle, it means that when an annual plant dies you can plant it again without worrying that it is out of season.
Casterton, Victoria
Rare and unusual vegetable seed farm

Offline Matt

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2017, 05:00:24 PM »
Hi again and thanks for the replies.
Is geo textile and geo fabric the same thing?
Ive been looking online such a big range I dunno the right stuff to get.
I even found some that are impregnated with herbicide to cause roots to split and turn away as soon as they come into contract with it but maybe not so good for an edible garden.....

And is root barrier another product again? Nothing on Ebay comes up when I type root barrier....I always end up at engineering manufacturers who put the stuff under roads etc.

Offline rowan

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2017, 05:42:14 PM »
You can get root barrier from bunnings or here:https://www.permathene.com.au/shop/root-barrier/152-root-barrier-600mm-per-metre.html  but it is impermiable so you couldn't use it as a liner unless you wanted to make wicking beds. It is mainly used as a barrier between you and your neighbour and means you have to dig a deep ditch to install it.
Geo textile and geo fabric is the same thing - it will let roots through.
Casterton, Victoria
Rare and unusual vegetable seed farm

Offline Matt

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2017, 06:34:14 PM »
Thanks for the links.

I already went and set up a bore and automatic watering system so I guess I could go for a wicking bed but I get all the water I want for free anyway (assuming wicker beds are about water efficiency?)

I guess I could be a barrier between me and the neighbours......what a job though. I built the greenhouse so close to the fence and filled in between with rocks...and I think no matter how deep I make the barrier that vine rooting will get under. it already knows where the goodness is it will come back.


What kind of vine is it and is it the likely cause of this mass of roots? Has anyone else had problems with these?

Does anyone know if passionfruit vine roots are as equally nasty as these?

Wits end. Im at it.




Offline Templeton

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2017, 08:54:23 AM »
Matt,
It's clearly those two pixies in the greenhouse casting spells... **&&
A few points in no particular order...
1. gardening should be fun.
2. gardening is equal quantities disappointment and joy - at least we don't face starvation when crops fail

wicking beds can be thought of as great big pots which you water from the bottom.
Don't use weed mat. It will not work = greater disappointment. believe us. Don't use weedmat.
You've done a great job on that setup - looks great.
if it's not the vine, it will be the palm, or those other bushes. Short of nuking the neighbour's garden, I reckon you will have a continual problem with root invasion.


Each situation is different, but you could try a few different things to see what works
a. dig beds really regularly to disrupt the invasion - would work for quick turnover crops.
b. go with growing in big pots - would hurt, given the work you've put in to the beds and soil
c. empty one bed and lift sleepers, lay a concrete slab under, put the sleepers back on top of the slab, refill, and maybe build the beds another sleeper higher to get bed depth. ie make a big sleeper-sized pot. you would need to keep the water up to them, but that's not a problem in your case.

I think fabrics and plastic films and the like are not long term solutions. Too easy to puncture them by accident. plant roots will find their way through tiny holes or cracks.

Anyway, a few ideas for you.
Good luck!
T

Offline Grub

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2017, 01:37:32 PM »
Well I'm going to give the geotextile a go end of season anyway. I'm sure it'll do a better job than nothing at all. I'll probably do a double layer. I don't think an impermeable lining would be a good idea (I'd have to drill drainage holes into the sides of the bed or something).
Cool region, Canberra. Courtyard and balcony gardener.
http://actgarden.blogspot.com/

Offline rowan

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2017, 02:03:51 PM »
The impermeable layer is not supposed to be a liner - it is to make a barrier between the tree and your garden beds. Let us know how things work out, it would be good for future reference.
Casterton, Victoria
Rare and unusual vegetable seed farm

Offline Matt

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2017, 05:28:10 PM »
haha Templeton, yes the pixies are who the garden is for really. they love it and this is the reason we dont want to give up. like the previous poster, i will also use geotextile, but will maybe go a triple layer of it.
option c is a no go too much work. dont like the pots either we spent a small fortune on those hardwood sleepers.
i'll also dig between my fence and the neighbours and put some solid root barrier in. Most of this for sale is 600mm....i think the roots will just work out how to go under this though right? if they can travel 2 m horizontally im sure they can go 60cm vertically.

Also, when i dig my trench to put the root barrier between my place and my neighbours place......there will be a tonne of exposed roots there. literally hundereds of little roots hanging out. Should i dip these in something special potion? And if i do, will i only have to do this on the roots coming from the neighbours side, and not the cut off parts already severed from their main trunks? I would think so but only want to do this once so am double checking.

If none of this works......i will at least know i gave it a fair crack. I dont mind turning the gardens once every few months i guess.

Maybe im being a bit excessive with my automatic watering system too and this is coaxing the vine roots over? each 2.4 x 1.2m bed has 8 ground level sprayers in it and it gets 5 minutes every morning, pretty much drenching all beds. Its a decent sized pump too so lots of pressure.These sprayers are individually adjustable though. Maybe i should be giving 2 mins in the morning and 2 mins in the evening instead of a deluge all at once so the ground isnt so wet.

Hypothetically, what would be the most effective treatment to use? Total destruction of this intruder is preffered. Dont need organic solutions, nasty dangerous chemicals are most welcome. Please help,  my pixies need their cherry tomoatoes and strawberries.

Matt

Offline Templeton

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2017, 07:36:30 AM »
Matt, i think the root barrier idea is that most feeding roots do their work in the top 30cm or so of the soil. whether they will go down 60 cm then back up - i don't know.
Poisoning your neighbour's plants isn't a great idea - i would encourage you to think of alternatives.
Contrast the fleeting enjoyment of few tasty cherry tomatoes with an irate enemy living 10 metres away plotting revenge 24 hours a day, every day of the year.


As for nasty chemicals for roots - i'm not sure - usually herbicides are transferred from the foliage to the rest of the plant - presumably in the phloem part of the plant's vascular system, in this case you are looking for something working in the opposite direction, in the xylem.
There is an equivalent to a pre-emergent herbicide that would work on roots - there's a nice short review here http://auf.isa-arbor.com/request.asp?JournalID=1&ArticleID=3034&Type=2


Trifluralin seems to be the product - non-systemic, and prevents roots from growing. How long it would last in sub-tropical soil i don't know.
good luck!
T

Offline Matt

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2017, 01:26:55 AM »
Ok thanks for that templeton, this thing has a million roots - giving those close to me will only stop those few not the rest.
Ill work something out post what i do then get back with the results too.
Once again you guys have been a wealth of info
Matt

Offline Templeton

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2017, 04:52:23 PM »
no worries Matt.
 ??++
T

Offline CameronS

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Re: Root invasion into vege garden
« Reply #24 on: January 14, 2017, 10:05:23 PM »
A few ideas:

- good quality geofabric in the beds, as a single piece in the beds, going up the sides too. Don't go to Bunnings, landscape yards will have bigger sizes and better quality.

- Don't use the herbicide impregnated one in the veg beds!

- get a flat plate shovel to chop deeply to slice the roots at the fence.  Done regularly will be effective.  Possibly drive down a sheet of aluminum or similar. I too am cursed by a neighbour's palms planted on the fence, they suck my bed near the fence dry completely so I gave up on veg and just have olives and salvias in that one (I can't excavate with the olive trees in there).

- Approach the neighbour about the vine, may be a weed anyway?

- With the bolting it may be the choices of crops. Brassica will definitely bolt with heat, as will lettuce, spinach, carrots, coriander etc. Eggplant on the other hand will love the heat and all the Victorians here will be jealous.  And you can actually grow capsicums!  Look up Rob Bob on YouTube, a channel calls Bits Out The Back. He is in SE Queensland. Into aqua culture but ignore that and follow the crops he grows.

- some crops are light sensitive so will bolt with lengthing days and such. It takes trial and error and lots of reading to find the crops that work for you.  That's what makes veg gardening a hobby (obsession)!

- If you could ID the vine it may help. Some plants are allelopathic. If it is then you'd want the roots out of the soil I would think, otherwise they will break down as you say.

- Wicking beds may not suit your situation if you have slightly salty bore water. Salts will accumulate in the befs and be hard to leach out.  As the beds are if it is salty you may need to swith to rain or tap occasionally to flush down the salts. Veg may be more sensitive than the invading plants.