The Q&A Archives: Hairy Roots In Soil

Question: In one of my flower beds, there are bunches of hairy roots
that seem to be taking over the soil. Also the plants I
have planted there do not seem to be doing well. The
box was filled with soil that came from near a barn.
What could these hairy roots be and are they destroying
my plants.

Answer: Unfortunatley, based on your description I am not able to identify the hairy roots with certainty. It is possible that some sort of unusual fungus is growing through the soil, but I suspect that a neighboring tree with invasive roots has sent some as far as your flower bed. (Tree roots can extend well beyond the overhanging tree branches.) Off hand I don't know of any reason why soil from near a barn would cause a problem such as this, however a well improved and nicely loosened area of soil is very attractive to those roaming tree roots. You might want to consult with your county extension (624-8650) and see if they have any suggestions as to what it is. I'm sorry I can't be more helpful.

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