The Q&A Archives: Tree Root Invasion

Question: I can't seem to grow anything on the east side of my yard. I think it is due to my neighbors palm trees. When I dig up the soil it is very dry and full of course dry orangeish roots. The plants I plant there usually dry up or remain puny looking; like they're not spreading out. What can I do? And if I fix the soil how can I prevent the same thing from happening again?

Answer: What you describe sounds like palm tree roots, and unfortunately there's not much you can do to keep the roots from invading the area (short of killing the tree, which I'm not recommending!) Have you thought about placing attractive planting boxes on the soil and gardening in them? Most tree roots will seek out water, especially if nutrients are present, so cover the bottoms of the boxes with 1/4 inch hardward cloth to keep roots from growing into them. You can build your own boxes, or purchase some ready-made planter boxes, then stock them full of flowering annuals and perennials to brighten up the area.

Good luck with your new project!

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