The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Problem roots - any ideas?

Problem roots - any ideas?

Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 103
Our hoop house is positioned in the only place we have room for. Though it's as well located as is possible, -- near the pond and facing southwest-- it's right next to several yew trees AND a huge maple tree.

I knew that when we started but did it anyway in my eagerness. I had also read that if one waters enough both tree and garden can be serviced.

But, -- by mid to late summer tiny roots from those trees not only sucked the moisture in the hoop house (requiring a lot of watering to take care of the greens) but created a tight knitting.

What to do this spring? !!

1) Using the pitch fork to loosen the soil doesn't seem an adequate solution for that dense root filament "sweater."

2) I feel I'll just HAVE to dig up the soil though I don't want to.

3) have thought of digging a trench around the hoop house and borrowing someone's chain saw, cut the offending roots. When the fence was built around it a bit of that HAD to be done just to get the metal posts in the ground, and I tell you some of those roots are big!

4) Today I though we should just dig a quite deep 12 x 4 hole and place a wooden floor to the hoop house. Sort of like a big outdoor box.

Any ideas?

Elaine
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 36
Hi Elaine,

One thing that might help is a heavy pruning of the branches directly above the problem root area, and the tree, in general. You'd want to prune the limbs if you hacked away roots, anyway. Fewer limbs/leaves, will mean less transpiration of your water, though I don't know how much it will help and it sounds like roots serving the opposite side of the tree have come over to get the abundant water. I would also water the side opposite the greenhouse copiously to balance the root growth. There's a rough correlation of roots to branches directly above, but, it sounds like you are getting roots from all sides of the tree now.

Something to think about, anyway...

Tree
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 104
Dear Tree,

This is new information for me, so I'm very grateful! And the timing is good also since our arborist friend will be coming soon to prune other large trees around here.

I had a long talk today with a knowledgeable friend who proposes cutting roots and placing landscape sheeting at the bottom and sides of the 12' 4' area of the hoop house.

So we'll be able to follow your advice as well!

By the way, -- "the side opposite" the hoophouse is our kidney shaped 9'x15' pond next to which is our garden and herb spiral!

Thanks again!
Elaine
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 37
Hi Elain

By the way, -- "the side opposite" the hoophouse is our kidney shaped 9'x15' pond next to which is our garden and herb spiral!


Ohhh.. hahaha!

Well, your arborist friend can give that tree a good pruning, especially based on the root pruning you will be doing..If the root pruning is of a lot of large support roots....well...I would be Very heavy-handed with the top pruning.....

Good luck
:)
Tree
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 38
Hi Elaine,
Ohhh...I just looked at some of your pics.
That's a huge tree!

Is it street on one side of it?

Tree
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 107
Yes, Tree, it's so close to the side street it belongs to the city. I think I know what you're thinking, -- that the tar road is forcing it to reach out mainly in our direction for nourishment and hydration, right?

Actually since the early morning sun rises behind it, Charles Yelton had recommended we cut it down but the city arborist doesn't want to. To tell the truth, I was very ambivalent anyway. Though I'm aware that permaculture people don't like trees equally, since it adds shade when I work in the hoop house late morning I appreciate it and love the canopy.

Thank you for taking the time to look it up. I can understand why with a name like yours! ;o)

Elaine
David S.
stereoview
Washington, ME
Post #: 138
It sounds like cutting it down may be the way to go. If you do, hammer some oyster mushroom plug spawn into the stump. If you water your hoop house a lot, the roots will keep coming and will suck a lot of water even if you have a barrier (if it is permeable). Plant a fruit tree near where the maple was.
Tree
user 4058763
Hollis Center, ME
Post #: 39
Oh goodness,

I wouldn't want to cut a fine old tree like that down, either.

I'd move the hoophouse before I did that, LOL.

Tree
Elaine
user 3022592
Portland, ME
Post #: 111
We have no choice anyway, David, since Jeff Tarling Portland's city arborist doesn't want it cut.

I talked it over with Hap our contractor friend who can do anything. What we decided is to dig and cut out the roots under the hoop house floor (and the arborist will correspondingly do limb pruning) and cover the bottom and sides with "landscape" sheeting of some kind that Hap knows about. Some years down the road of course, we'll have to repeat the process, but we can live with that. The hoop house will be easy (for a few strong men) to pick up anyway, especially after Hap cuts it in two 6' wide sections.

Your mentioning hammering some oyster mushroom plug spawns into the stump reminded me, David, of Hugelkultur" I read about in Gaia's Garden p. 70. There's a big rotten log in the small woods at the end of our street. I was tempted to lug it into our backyard for that.

I agree with you also Tree! As I said, I was mostly relieved Tarling didn't want to cut the tree.

Elaine
A former member
Post #: 75
Elaine,
You've probably already thought of this-- at the same time you're doing the renovations, increase the height of your hoop house 'box' by adding more wood to build it up raising the soil level and increasing soil depth. I also wonder whether adding a layer of moss ( a la Nancy Bubel in her seed flats) would help retain water by creating a 'sponge' effect? I might try placing the moss right above the barrier and then put your soil on top.

Winnie
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