TorrentialRains
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:18 pm
Location: Alberta

Large Container garden over poplar roots.. good or bad idea?

First of all I would like to mention that Im not a gardener. I love gardens, plants, and outdoors, but I don't have a lawn. So.. yeah. So now that you know that Im a complete rookie. Here is the problem.

My mother-in-law's backyard is quite large (course thats relative, but unimportant) and she has an area of her yard that she has done nothing but let it go completely wild. Well those days are gone and now she wants to do something with it. ONly problem is that she has BIG poplars... and now she has a ton of little poplars in that area of yard. Biggest problem with that is the roots. Too close to the big trees to just cut the roots off without risking the death of the tree (And no she doesnt want to get rid of them). So I was thinking of doing something like a large container garden raised about a foot above the ground. This would probably help control the resprouting trees (no light), would allow the big trees roots to thrive, and Let us plant some veggies with way less hassle.

But will it work? THat is my question. (sorry if that was a very roundabout way of asking)
:P phhhhhhhhhhhht!

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Torrential Rains,

If I understand, you want to build container boxes on raise them up on legs about a foot off the ground. I suppose the word 'large' is relative, but it doesn't sound like a good idea to me. If you plan on placing the boxes directly on the soil where the tree roots are, that's a big 'no, no'. Tree roots extend beyond the canopy of the trees and putting anything heavy on top of them will compact the soil and eventually smother the tree roots. Putting lots of soil on top of them to build raised beds causes the same problem. Even if you build the beds on legs, the additional water you would use to water the plants might be too much for the trees.

The best way to treat the soil under the canopy of the trees would be to add 2" of mulch, with none of it against the trunk. Here's some helpful info on tree roots and how they grow and how to mulch trees.
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/WO017
https://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/Garden/02926.html
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/MG089
https://www.treesaregood.com/treecare/mulching.aspx

If you put down about 6 layers of dampened newspaper (damp so the slightest breeze won't have you chasing it all over the yard with the slightest breeze) and then put down the mulch, you can probably smother the sprouts. Then you can use a scuffle hoe once or twice a year to sever the sprouts. It has a sharp blade, is easy to use and severs the weeds just below the surface of the mulch and won't disturb your mulch.
https://clients.ebluekey.com/files/26_ScuffleHoe.gif

Then you can use a few flower pots if you like.

Newt

TorrentialRains
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:18 pm
Location: Alberta

Hmm so you think that the legs themselves would cause too much damage to the roots? I figured the smaller area wouldn't cause too much damage to the large trees roots.

As for extra water.. that wouldn't be a problem as it would have its own special watering system for it. (Still coming up with a design for that part at the moment... ha ha.. maybe you will see that come up under another topic area)

Thanks for all the info though. I will take a look through it all and see what else I can figure out.
:P phhhhhhhhhhhht!

TorrentialRains
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:18 pm
Location: Alberta

After going through the info that you have given me.. I realized something. This would make for a very healthy tree.. but it doesn't really help with our problem of coming up with a solution for the backyard. If I was to follow all this advice on taking care of the tree.. Then we wouldnt even be walking in the backyard. lol.

These three trees almost cover 1/2 the yard. So in landscaping this backyard, some damage WILL occur Im just trying to lessen it. As for pots, I have never been that big a fan of pots.. and also. Wouldn't pots be just as bad for the roots as legs from a container if not worse? (more space being covered up) Also we are trying to get a vegetable garden going and pots arent nessesarily the best for that. (I have a feeling someone more knowledgable than me is going to disagree with me on that)

It might be that we just may have to cut down the trees (they are not a long lasting species anyways and have lots of problems, though I must admit that I really like the big ol trees).

Anyways.. thanks again you have given me much to ponder on. Anyone else feel free to comment! or same person to comment again! lol.
:P phhhhhhhhhhhht!

Newt
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Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

When I said a few pots, that's all relative too! Guess I should have been more specific. :oops: I was thinking two or three pots under a tree. Have you any pictures of the area you could post?

Newt

TorrentialRains
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Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jul 17, 2008 10:18 pm
Location: Alberta

No.. unfortunately I don't. Maybe I could get one in the future.. doesnt look like its going to happen this year anyways.

So instead Im going to see about starting a bonsai. Perfect for a man with no real yard I figure... and I love trees.. not poplars so much some times... but I love trees.
:P phhhhhhhhhhhht!

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