Okay - this is truly a mystery. There are a series of root that run what
seems to be the length of my long garden bed (very close the entire 100+
feet of my driveway) Usual depth is about 6 inches, few have been
deeper, less often shallower
Each time I find another, it's another fresh hell. They're usually about
1/2 inch in diameter, but yesterday's approaches one full inch. Roots of
garden plants I'm trying to divide grow down on either side of this
tough root resulting in very sore muscles.
Near the top of the bed is a Manchurian Crabapple with oaks, pines and
maples at the very top (typical New England woods). At the bottom of the
drive are my snowball viburnum, a clethra (sweet spire - native shrub)
and my neighbors ornamental evergreens.
The driveway goes downhill over its length (top being the house etc)
maybe 15 degrees. The base tends to stay damp unless there is a drought.
OKay I'm in southern NH and this root wasn't there went I built the bed
20 years ago. I want to do a serious overhaul of the whole thing, but
this root is making this old lady achy.
Thank you all
One or more of the trees at the top of the slope are following the lovely bit
of cultivated ground you built down to the moisture at the base of the slope.
A tree's root system spreads out a lot more than you would think--much
farther than the canopy.
When we put in our second raspberry patch, we found an amazingly large
root that ran like a shot from the mulberry tree in one neighbor's yard
and across a stretch of lawn straight to my vegetable garden. There was
another root that crossed from a different neighbor's yard directly
to my compost pile.
When yet another neighbor's white poplar tree was cut down, the extent
of the area its roots covered was revealed by the shoots they sent up.
They reached outward at least as far as the tree was tall, possibly more.
Well, lets hope which ever tree is sending these roots down the slope
survives with them cut. You don't want to know how much my knee hurts
today from trying to lift one medium sized daylily. This root has to be
over 100 feet from the tree.
I've cut that sucker on either side of the hole. At least when I lift
the next few, it won't be an issue on the down side of the bed.
You can leave them or remove them.
Depends at least partly on how much you value the trees.
I tend to remove them.
If you grab hold and pull, you're likely to make a big mess besides
all the hard work. If you just cut it, it's essentially gone.
A few years and it will grow back, but the downstream end is dead.
I use either loppers or an axe to cut the root.
Cut the segment under the flower bed at both ends, and it's pretty
easy to pull out.
I'll use the loppers as I find it in digging stuff up. Next week is
start marking more daylilies to either remove permanently from the
garden or just divide most of it. Ditto for the Siberian irises.
I'm just amazed that any tree would send out that long a root and it not
be a foot or more deep - like right to the water table.
My back yard is 100 feet deep and 65 feet wide. Since it is sloped
toward the house, I'm working on a terrace right about in the center
of that. In doing that, I found a root running side to side, about
a foot deep and 1 inch thick.
I was initially concerned I had dug up a power cable, it was that
straight and even.
The most likely source is a Norway Spruce that is about 20 feet on
the other side of the fence.
Drew Lawson | Savage bed foot-warmer
| of purest feline ancestry
At only 6" deep it shouldn't be much of a job to follow the root back
to its source... you can lop it off at the edge of the woods but
depending on circumstances I'd be more apt to remove such a plant. New
England woods are rife with wild grape vines... from my own experience
with removal I'd bet that's what you're dealing with... search further
into the woods than you might think, the mommy vine can be a good
100'+ into the woods and a good 3"+ in diameter. Wild grapevines are
very good at hiding along forest floors and up against tree trunks and
don't need a lot of foliage to thrive. Wild grapes are very difficult
to get rid of, If your planting beds are relatively close to the
woods odds are you will never totally eliminate wild grape vines. Be
persistant and good luck.
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