New Vegetable Garden - Knowledgebase Question

Greensboro, NC
Question by cookr
April 28, 1998
We are sawing down some redtips that have died. Instead of planting new shrubs along the fence where the redtips once grew, we'd like to plant a vegetable garden. The exposure is good. Water is fine. My question is, can we just cut down the old shrubs and add some topsoil and soil conditioner and then plant our vegetables and seeds, or do we have to remove all of the roots? There is a concern that this would damage the fence. Can new plants grow over old roots if new soil is layered on top of the roots?


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Answer from NGA
April 28, 1998

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Go ahead and plant over the old roots. There are no diseases that will transfer from the redtip photinia shrubs to the vegetable or flower garden plants. You may wish to remove some of the shrub "stumps" and largest roots to make it easier to rototill or spade the soil, but it isn't necessary.

If you add a new soil mix that is different from the existing soil, mix the soils at the interface between the two a little bit for best results. A spade can be used to lightly break up this "transition zone" after a few inches of the new soil has been added. Thorough spading or rototilling is not necessary.

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