Tree Roots and Vegetable Patches: What to do When Tree Roots Strangle Your Veggies

Posted on: 27 February 2017

Growing vegetables in the presence of trees can prove to be a difficult endeavour. At first, your vegetable patch may thrive for a season or two. However, if there are trees in the vicinity, especially those with aggressive root systems, they may soon find their way into your vegetable patch. When that happens, your once flourishing plants will be forced to compete for nourishment and inevitably lose as the hardier and more voracious tree roots drain all the goodness from the surrounding areas.

If your vegetable patch is suffering as a result of invading tree roots, there are a number of things you can do to ensure that your vegetable patch puts plenty of vegetables on your dinner table next harvesting season.

Move Your Vegetable Patch

If removing the tree is not something you want to consider, then you might have to start over and plant your veggies somewhere else. When choosing another location for your vegetable patch, remember that tree root systems often reach twice as far as their canopies. Therefore, if the offending tree has a canopy of 20 feet, plant your vegetables at least 40 feet from the trunk of the tree.

Install a Vertical Root Barrier

Dig a trench around 2-3 feet deep around your vegetable patch once you have removed any invading roots, and place metal or plastic barriers. Once you filled the trenches in, they should force tree roots in the vicinity downwards or sideways and keep them out of your vegetable patch.

Plant Your Vegetables in Containers

If space is limited, you can plant your vegetables in containers. This will keep them safe from tree roots and ensure that they continue to yield a bountiful harvest. Most vegetables and fruits can be grown in containers, from tomatoes and potatoes to bigger vegetables like cabbage or lettuce. However, larger plants such as pumpkins, asparagus and rhubarb generally require a lot of space and won't fare well in containers.

Sacrifice Your Tree for the Sake of Your Vegetables

In small gardens, trees and vegetables will always end up competing for space, water and nutrients. Invariably, your veggies will lose out. In this case, you should consider removing the tree. Otherwise, no matter how many times you cut back a tree's marauding feeder roots, they will return and you'll be back to square one.

Calling on the expert advice of a professional arborist or tree removal specialist is another option. After a careful examination of your garden, they will be able to offer some suggestions as to how you might plant your garden. If you do decide to remove the tree, consider having the stump ground down too to clear even more space for your vegetable patch.


Home Improvement: A Plumber, An Electrician And A Builder

Hello! Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of living in a palace, like a Disney Princess. While I never met my Prince Charming, I didn't give up on my dream. I worked two jobs while I was attending college and when I graduated, I saved every cent I could. By the time I was 25, I still hadn't found someone to settle down with, I decided to buy a house of my own. The house was in a suburb of Syndey. It was a nice spot, but the house itself needed a lot of work. I called in contractors to fix the plumbing, repair the wiring and to construct an extension. It took a while, but I can finally say I have my own little palace. I started this blog to inspire others who dream of living in their perfect home.