Overgrown conifers.

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In a neighbours garden sucking all nutrients away. I can't grow a bloody thing. Any nasty thing I can do with out suspicion? She doesn't even care for the garden anyway. I wish to grow fruit and veg on my side of the fence.
-- "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts."
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
ChrisC
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ChrisC wrote:

A deep slit trench - dug with stealth, should do the trick for you. Just on your side of the fence / property line of course. Might have to go three or four feet at least.
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Buddha in the Dhammapada, but any nasty thing you can do without suspicion? Oh well. What leads you to believe these conifers are stealing nutrients if you have nothing growing there yet? Have the soil tested, then do what you have to do, ie: amend the soil to make it more fertile.
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You don't have to hurt the tree. What you need to do is to add some soil amendments and build up your soil. The tree isn't going to suck a ton of well-composted cow manure from the top six inches of soil. Really.
We live in a big red pine forest. Our main problem is that the soil is sandy. We need to add lots of mulch and stuff -- the red pines aren't the cause of our problems. You ought to do the same. Get a big bail of spoiled hay and spread it over the garden. In the spring, push the mulch aside and plant.
Of course, if you find roots as you're digging through garden, it's perfectly OK to chop them. We have found, however, that the cottonwood and quaking aspen roots are the biggest culprits. The various conifers don't seem to be causing any trouble at all.
Ray Drouillard
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On Wed, 1 Dec 2004 11:42:40 -0500, "Ray Drouillard"

Cheers.
-- "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts."
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
ChrisC
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don't want SPAM! wrote:

Except in a minority of cases, neighborhood tree preservation is the matter of greatest importance. It is highly unlikely any trees are sucking all nutrients from the soil. Trees, shrubs, subshrubs, & prennials can interact indefinitely greatly benefiting one another. There would be no such thing as undergrowth in the forest if a couple trees could destroy the soil, then even the trees would drop dead. Nature is much smarter than that.
Trees certainly can cause deep shade & within their dripline can keep the soil pretty dry, so that ahy garden would need to be suitable to shade & receive supplementary watering on a regular basis to flourish well.
If you have crappy soil, you have crappy soil. If there is nothing planted in an area, soil does tens to get crappy, because the percentage of organic material diminishes over time from lack of plant life, then worms, beneficial funguses, & the microflora diminishes which stops production of soil nitrogens, & if a shrub were plopped in there without restoring the soil it would die because without beneficial funguses in the soil a shrub won't be able to produce needed sugars. Other reasons for crappy soil would be that builders of the house built up the soil with the worst possible (but best-compactable) fill; there is something unhelpful in the characteristics of the sub-soil;
If the trees greatly shade the garden, you'll be limited in veggy choices, as most veggies need lots of sun to produce much, but some things including carrots & many other root crops, some leaf crops, & broccoli, ought to do well in moderate amounts of shade that would stop cucucumbers, eggplants, tomatos or peas from doing much of anything. But if there's plenty of sun all afternoon or for at least half the day, that's plenty. You do have a legal right to trim back branches that overhang your yard, in order to get more sun to a veggy patch or for any reason that strikes you, just try not to make the trees ugly doing that, as they are part of the back-drop of your gardening too, & you should be able to use their presence in a positive way.
If your neighbor's trees are of a type that send long roots over the surface & right into your yard thick & dense all over the place, then that's a problem all righty. You can cut through the roots two two or three feet depth before adding compost, rabbitshit, or peat to increase the organic matter in the soil, which when kept moist restores the microflora. Cutting the roots out probably won't kill the the trees (if it does, it'll take five to ten years), but root-cutting does excite new root growth, so the soil may need deep churning with removal every five to ten years, OR you can trench the area along the property line & put in a root barrier, which in the olden days were made of concrete thick as retaining walls, but now are made of 90-degree-raised-rib molded plastic panels available through landscaping companies or bamboo companies, one big manufacturer being the Deep Root Corporation.
It's not good for neighborly relations to resort to courts, but if real damage is being done, courts are an option. If a neighbor has the sorts of trees that do cause serious damage to neighboring property, then a record of damage should be kept, an arborist's expert opinion should be written & notorized that the trees are in fact harmful, the neighbor should be shown the proofs as "fair warning" that his trees are put him in the way of legal action, & if the problem is not fixed, damages can be recouped in court. There are time-limits for liability, but as a rule you can expect to win provable damages that occur within a six year period. The trees' owner would have to have been provided sufficient advance warning to have time to rectify a problem.
From what you say I doubt the trees are a problem, because very few trees do this sort of thing; arborist Jon Cocking says at least half of all trees removed because of all sorts of root-damage problems (such as harm to sidewalks or building structures) were never part of any problem & never needed to be removed, & in some cases where really nice trees might be sacrificed, it is a good idea to get root DNA analyse before blaming the wrong trees. But there are sufficient exceptions to make it pretty commonly settled in courts.
You have the legal right, without permission from or notice to your neighbor, to remove trespassing tree roots as well as overhead branches (you have no right to poison the roots or branches). Usually there's no reason to worry about nearby roots unless they're the sort to lift patios, injure foundations, or cause subsidence. But certain elms, silver maples, norway maples, & a few others can be the sort of trees that produce so many surface-traveling roots that a large surrounding area can be dense with roots that would spoil any chance at gardening. All trees have a few surface or feeder roots which can sometimes run for twenty, thirty feet, & for the sake of the trees these shouldn't be molested, but a few trees produce hundreds or thousands of these feeder roots. If you DON'T have an obvious & VAST number of surface roots everywhere, there's not even a secondary problem caused by those trees, so just plow a lot of organic matter at least a foot deep and raise the height of the bed for additional soil & good drainage, plant stuff, & keep it watered.
Another exception would be if your neighbor's trees are walnuts. Walnut roots exude a growth-suppressing toxin that can keep an area dead within their dripline, unless you select specific plants that do thrive where there is juglone in the soil & shade overhead. It is possible to garden around a walnut but you'd have to start with a list of the many juglone-tolerant plants.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Nice post, but the person who asked will not read it, or do any of the suggestions so it's a waste of time for that purpose. Oh well...at least some of us tried.
On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 11:12:41 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net (paghat) opined:

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On Wed, 01 Dec 2004 20:18:03 GMT, escape

Yes it was a nice post. But don't judge other lest you wish to be judged yourself. Immature person. Into the either with. ------------PLOP!
-- "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts."
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
ChrisC
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In general, conifers are poor soil trees - that is to say, they choose and thrive best in soils of low fertility and good drainage (meaning, in some cases, sandy or gravelly soil). So they are not likely to be sucking all the nutrients away in your garden .However, they probably are shading a good part of your garden, and they are probably sucking water all around their drip line. Also, some conifer needles are hostile to new plantings - things like arborvitae drop little bitty needles that inhibit new growth on other plants. If that is the case, you need to do a good job raking under the conifers that hang over your yard and hauling off the needles. "
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OK, a little tree biology is in order. All trees of any size, conifers included, can develop extremely widespreading root systems. A rule of thumb is a spread twice the height of the canopy - a 60' tree can have roots that spread in a diameter of 120' or more. In certain deciduous trees and conifers, those root systems can be very dense as well and they can indeed outcompete smaller plants for soil moisture and nutrients just by virtue of their volume and spread. Plants which typically grow as woodland understory plantings are adapted to these conditions and are generally not fussy about soils or water. More cultivated ornamentals and certainly any annuals (like most veggies) are not happy and will not thrive in these conditions, needing more sun, soil fertility and water than a location adjacent to a large tree can provide.
I won't get into the legal issues involved in consciously damaging or killing a tree located on another's property - they differ regionally and can be significant. Deal with what you have - that is one of the challenges of good gardening. Plant the veggies or whatever in an area well away from the root system. Raised beds may work well.
pam - gardengal
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il Thu, 02 Dec 2004 16:02:43 GMT, "Pam - gardengal" ha scritto: [snip]

I can attest to that, the soil level with my conifer's dripline is very dry. So I water it a lot and the garlic seems ok. We'll see how the jalapenos do this summer.

Yeah, I saw in a book they did that by putting a layer down that kept the roots out and then raised the soil over it. Can't remember the details though. It was an Aussie book on soil.
My neighbour has giant NZ flax as a fence break and they are a pain in the neck. For too big for suburbia and roots everywhere - just by the best bit of garden soil there was.
--
Cheers,
Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ] not
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wrote:

What do you think Buddha would recommend?
Penelope
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Buddha would pull down Victoria's panties and spank her little pink bottom.
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On Thu, 02 Dec 2004 11:13:33 -0500, Penelope Periwinkle

He woundn't he would get someone else to worry about it.
-- "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts."
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
ChrisC
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And these trees just magically appeared full grown and in your way?
Verily, an evil deed committed does not immediately bear fruit, just as milk curdles not at once; smouldering, it follows the fool like fire covered with ashes.
Balavagga (the fool) The Dhammapada
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On 2 Dec 2004 14:51:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com (Beecrofter) wrote:

No I'm living with my mother now. Whos to old to take care of the garden. I thought I might produce vegatables next year. Unfortunatly this year everything appears to have died where those trees are. Luckily my solution is this. I shall plant them on the other side where the is no overgrowth. That way not damaging the trees. Still is unfortunate that those trees are so barricaded against the fence that the whole side of the fence is starting break under the pressure.
-- "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts."
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
ChrisC
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If your neighbors trees are damaging your fence, you can make them pay for fence repairs.
And, raised garden beds, say 24" deep, would probably solve your problem. I like raised beds anyway. They tend to use less water and be easier to keep properly fertilized.
They just produce healther food plants.
--
K.

Sprout the MungBean to reply

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I'd love to have a big tree in my neighbourhood. If that corner of your yard is unused, consider a raised deck with a barbeque, patio furnitures and a hammock. Imagine eating fruit ices in summer shaded by conifers. But, mend the fence first. What climate zone are you in?
(Beecrofter) wrote:

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On 5 Dec 2004 12:25:22 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Pen) wrote:

London, UK.
-- "We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts."
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
ChrisC
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I got so peeved with 2 pines on my own yard killing all the other trees that I had them removed. The needles release toxins, I understand.
--SP-- http://www.briandunnettandsons.co.nz / http://www.clocksandbarometers.co.nz / http://www.nitro.gen.nz
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