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
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
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.
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.
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
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
-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.
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.
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
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
il Thu, 02 Dec 2004 16:02:43 GMT, "Pam - gardengal" ha scritto:
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.
Loki [ Brevity is the soul of wit. W.Shakespeare ] not
I might suggest killing yourself for being such a dickhead, or at the
very least, don't breed and do society a favor... and failing that,
fertilize your friggin plants and quit blaming your neighbors' trees
for your ineptitude.
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
On 2 Dec 2004 14:51:43 -0800, email@example.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
- Buddha in the Dhammapada -
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.
Sprout the MungBean to reply
"I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell--you
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
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
Have you considered a raised bed there? Fill it with compost, earthworms,
etc., for a really good soil and resulting good garden. I doubt the
trees' roots would do any damage to such a bed. Even if you don't want a
raised bed, you will still have to work with the soil to improve it;
that's a fact of life. Too many are eager to blame a tree for their
problems. I have a huge Evergreen Magnolia tree in my background which
could be blamed for poor garden production as it shades the garden for at
least 30 percent of the day. With that, and other trees, most of my
garden receives less than 50 percent of sunlight each day. Yet, the garden
flourishes. Why? Good soil and surface watering, as well as a lot of
love. If I had not put all that horse manure on it and relied on
sprinklers, there are those that would be blaming the trees for low/poor
production which would have been the result.
Any portion of dirt that has not had organic material in it, including
plants, is not going to be fertile, regardless of what is, or is not,
planted near it. The other side of it is that soil that has been gifted
with organic material, is going to be fertile and there is no other choice
for it. As they say, compost happens (hence fertility).
If you have shade there, consider putting cool-weather crops. The
magnolia tree side of my garden is very kind to broccoli, cabbage, chard,
My experience in my own yard has been direct sunlight is not as necessary
as good soil and proper irrigation; filtered sunlight seems to be as
effective. That was somewhat of a surprise to this person who grew up in
eastern Washington sunshine on a farm. Another issue might be ground
temperature if there is shade. Consider getting some plastic barrels in
which to store water to release in the garden (instead of the garden hose
from the tap) where the water would be warm as it reaches the soil; should
be very beneficial. One thing for certain, I'll find out next summer as
it'll be my next experiment in my own garden.
Fifty-gallon plastic barrels are usually available from food processing
companies, often free or for a small fee. Mine are $5 each and used for a
variety of things in my garden (potatoes, raised herb beds, watering trays
under pots, winter containers for all those hoses, strawberry barrel,
etc.). The ones cut in half are only filled half-way with soil which
makes it possible to move them to other locations. (When planting in
them, they must have holes drilled in the bottom.)
Please don't blame the tree for "stealing" nutrients as it's unlikely to
be the problem; we are lucky to have the trees we do and are losing them
much too quickly. Like the car in front of us traveling slower than we
would like, sometimes inconvenient, even annoying, but not destroying our
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