Hedge Roots killing lawn?

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by BassFisher, Jan 31, 2021.

  1. BassFisher

    BassFisher Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi Morning all
    I’m currently building some raised beds, I’d like to know what to fill them with please?
    Also, whilst digging up the turf I’ve found a mass of roots running horizontally under the lawn(couple of inches below), Am I right in thinking that the roots are from the nearby conifer hedge? And are these roots the cause of the poor state of my lawn? Thanks
    upload_2021-1-31_8-16-48.jpeg
     
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    • noisette47

      noisette47 Total Gardener

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      Hello BF, yes they'll be conifer roots. If you haven't already chopped them around the raised bed area, I would! Before you fill the beds, lay down some permeable geotextile/weed-suppressing membrane. That will prevent them from re-growing into the soil/compost of the raised beds.
      What you fill them with depends on what's available. A mix of soil, compost, well-rotted manure, leaf mould..or any combination of those.
       
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      • BassFisher

        BassFisher Apprentice Gardener

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        Ok thanks for the reply!
        What can I do about the rest of the lawn? I’m thinking that it’s all so established that I’d need to dig the whole lot up and put a barrier down, that would be too much!
         
      • ricky101

        ricky101 Total Gardener

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        Hi,

        Those roots will be sucking all the moisture and life out of the surrounding area and lawn and also reducing the light available, unless the lawn and raised beds are south facing ?

        They will make a bee line for your raised beds as you are putting exactly what they want, food and water, in there !

        One way we have used in a similar situation is to dig a narrow trench a few feet way from the conifers/shrubs and about 2 ft deep which is where most of those shallow feeeder roots are.
        Then lay a run of some very heavy duty polythene or damp proof membrane on the side of trench. We have found that it seems to keep those roots out for several years or more.

        The alternative is to feed and water the grass and raised beds regularly, that will improve the grass but also the conifers which will then only compound the problem.
         
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        • BassFisher

          BassFisher Apprentice Gardener

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          I’ve been wondering why I could never get any joy with developing my lawn, now I know why. Thanks for your advice, no pain no gain eh?
           
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          • BassFisher

            BassFisher Apprentice Gardener

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            An update for you, Ive dug down about 18” as you can see the roots are really invading the lawn , so my plan is to get a digger in and do it properly and also aggravate the lawn before work there.5AAB9C1B-21B5-44A5-A15B-D85A83DD85B1.jpeg
             
          • ricky101

            ricky101 Total Gardener

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            How far way from the base of the conifers is the trench ?

            You might find the roots do not go much deeper than those thick ones by the spade.

            Some sites suggest these fibrous roots do not go deeper than 3 foot though the spead can be 2 to 3 times their height!

            We use this very thick polythene and try and keep any overlaps to the minimum.

            However they will slowly push their roots though over the following years, just depends where they can easiest get their water from.

            Damp Proof Membrane Handy Pack 3m x 4m
             
          • BassFisher

            BassFisher Apprentice Gardener

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            The conifer is about 1 m away, it’s trimmed so maybe the trunk is 2-3m away.
             
          • ricky101

            ricky101 Total Gardener

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            Its a method we have used a couple of times over the years against very big shrubs and a Sycamore tree in next doors garden.

            Your trench does seem a good distance from the trunk, however, it might be worth while getting another opinion as to if its safe to do so with those confifers which do look very heathly.

            They do seem to be a plant that can react badly if conditions are not right.
            Also assume they are on your property, so if something did go wrong you are not going to have problems with the neighbours !
             
          • BassFisher

            BassFisher Apprentice Gardener

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            Ok so I don’t want to kill the conifers, they’re 25’ high in one side, my side is trimmed to 15’. They are our trees , I just would like to give our lawn a chance.
             
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