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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 1:07 pm 
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As the name implies, I have sandy "soil" (mostly sand). My home was built in 1961 in hurst. Many of my elderly neighbors have successful gardens in this area. The question is about vegetable garden LOCATION. My entire lot is 1/4 acre, including the house and both yards. On this I have 14 mature trees (plus more on my fenceline that belong to the neighbor), mostly post oak, with pecans, cedar elm, hackberry, etc. I want to plant a vegetable garden, but everywhere I look there are tree roots at or just under the soil. Last year (the first year we lived here) I learned a hard lesson . . . I pulled up 3 unhealthy dwarf nandinas along the ront of the house and planted 5 newer shrubs. I encountered two separate roots (near the top of the soil) about 1/2" - 3/4" thick, and sliced right through them, figuring they must not be too important since they are so small :oops: and yes, within a few weeks, massive branches of my pecan literally snapped off. OK - so now I'm in the backyard wanting a small veggie garden. But wherever I prod, there are dozens of criss-crossed roots just under the soil, from 1/16" to 3/8" thick. Is it hopeless? How in the world do I locate a garden without risking killing more trees?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:15 pm 
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Location: Grand Prairie,TX
Have you considered any no-till methods? I can speak from experience on this. My first vegetable garden was little more than 6 inches of compost piled on top of bare, but un-tilled, dirt with a topdressing of shredded tree trimmings. That was my first - and most successful - garden. I harvested more tomatoes than I could eat that season. You may try that, or you could learn about "lasagna gardening" which I believe is a similar but more refined method.

I don't normally hear no-till methods recommended. I suppose that all other things being equal it would be better to till amendments into the top few inches. But no-till methods can be quite successful.

I suppose these are appropriate so long as you don't build on top of the root flare of the tree.

But I'm a new gardener also...Maybe someone else can offer better advice.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:26 pm 
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Thank you - this makes the most sense, but there is added expense, which i was trying to avoid. I appreciate the post :D


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 7:56 am 
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Location: Dallas,TEXAS
Since there's no way to remove the roots, I think there's only 2 options; make raised beds or get large pots for your herbs and veggies.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 09, 2009 1:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 08, 2003 9:01 am
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Location: Dallas, TX
Cutting the roots by tilling or other methods will hurt the trees, at least temporarily. And, the roots will grow back, They will especially like your organic amendments. That means the problem will be on going. Is another location possible? Root barriers are possible but they are a lot of trouble and/or expensive.


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PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 5:57 pm 
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Thanks for the tips. we have over a dozen mature trees on 0.25 acre, so finding a sunny, root-free location is really difficult. The best spot would be smack in the middle of the back yard, but that is not practical.


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