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Hello Guest!
Welcome to the official Square Foot Gardening Forum.
There's lots to learn here by reading as a guest. However, if you become a member (it's free, ad free and spam-free) you'll have access to our large vermiculite databases, our seed exchange spreadsheets, Mel's Mix calculator, and many more members' pictures in the Gallery. Enjoy.

Will landscape cloth stop roots? I22gcj10Will landscape cloth stop roots? 14dhcg10

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Will landscape cloth stop roots?

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WardinWake
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Post  TSHRED 1/4/2015, 2:28 pm

I have a King Palm and Giant Birds of Paradise close to where my needs will go. 

Will landscape cloth underneath my beds prevent root invasion or are more drastic measures needed?  The soil here drains very well.
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Post  Kelejan 1/4/2015, 5:22 pm

IMO it discourages roots but does not stop them. Roots will get through eventually. One only needs the smallest tear and they are there.
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Post  jimmy cee 1/4/2015, 6:15 pm

In answer to your question
NOOOO NOOOOOO NOOOOO
Tree roots that is grows through anything but air, I question the air comment, however I'll soon find out.
This is even before I got down to the weed barrier.
Will landscape cloth stop roots? Bed_3_10


After weed barrier was pulled up
Will landscape cloth stop roots? Bed_3_11
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Post  camprn 1/4/2015, 7:58 pm

Nope. I had the same as Jimmy. Last year I finishsed lifting nearly all of my boxes to avoid this choking mess of root hairs.

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Post  TSHRED 1/4/2015, 8:23 pm

Unfortunately this is my only spot in my tiny backyard. I researched palm trees and their roots stay close to the tree. The giant bird I'm still looking into. 

I really wanted to just break up the existing sandy soil and amend it with some compost then top it off with a good mix.  I may have to scratch that and try to slow the roots. Still planning.
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Post  WardinWake 1/4/2015, 8:40 pm

Howdy:

You can build your SFG off of the ground.  Start with a normal box, put hardware cloth on the bottom of the box and then place landscape/weed barrier in the bottom of the box and fasten it to the sides.  Turn the box upside down and add a strip of wood at least 3 inches thick to the bottom edges.  This will keep the bottom of the box and your Mel's mix from making contact with the ground and make it much harder for the roots to invade your Square Foot Garden.

God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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Post  camprn 1/4/2015, 9:14 pm

TSHRED wrote:Unfortunately this is my only spot in my tiny backyard. I researched palm trees and their roots stay close to the tree. The giant bird I'm still looking into. 

I really wanted to just break up the existing sandy soil and amend it with some compost then top it off with a good mix.  I may have to scratch that and try to slow the roots. Still planning.
It is really so much easier to make a box with a bottom like Ward spoke of of with boards on the bottom. I used boards and then 2x4s under each end.

Making the Mel's Mix is so much easier than digging and amending the existing soil...

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There are certain pursuits which, if not wholly poetic and true, do at least suggest a nobler and finer relation to nature than we know. The keeping of bees, for instance. ~ Henry David Thoreau

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t1306-other-gardening-books



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Post  sanderson 1/5/2015, 12:11 am

Weed cloth will NOT keep out roots.  It will however, hold Mel's Mix or other bed filler from falling out the bottom holes that are drilled for drainage in plywood bottoms.  Or from slipping out the cracks between bottom boards.  Or from getting unnecessary dirt pulled up into the Mix when pullinto out expired veggies or fresh carrots, etc.

Here are the roots that grew through the weed fabric at the bottom of my wood boxes.  This is after only 18 months on the ground. Will landscape cloth stop roots? Roots_10
Having beds set on top of some kind of wood supports will save anguish in the long run.  I raised all my bed this fall except for one that still have growing veggies. Will landscape cloth stop roots? Raised10
Plywood bottom with weed fabric to keep the Mel's Mix from falling though the drilled drainage holes. Will landscape cloth stop roots? Table_10

A note about palm tree roots. They may not spread like some trees, but they do make a huge nasty ball of the worlds toughest roots when mature. Removing a palm tree separates the men from the boys.
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Post  TSHRED 1/5/2015, 1:20 am

sanderson wrote:Weed cloth will NOT keep out roots.  It will however, hold Mel's Mix or other bed filler from falling out the bottom holes that are drilled for drainage in plywood bottoms.  Or from slipping out the cracks between bottom boards.  Or from getting unnecessary dirt pulled up into the Mix when pullinto out expired veggies or fresh carrots, etc.

Here are the roots that grew through the weed fabric at the bottom of my wood boxes.  This is after only 18 months on the ground. Will landscape cloth stop roots? Roots_10
Having beds set on top of some kind of wood supports will save anguish in the long run.  I raised all my bed this fall except for one that still have growing veggies. Will landscape cloth stop roots? Raised10
Plywood bottom with weed fabric to keep the Mel's Mix from falling though the drilled drainage holes. Will landscape cloth stop roots? Table_10

A note about palm tree roots.  They may not spread like some trees, but they do make a huge nasty ball of the worlds toughest roots when mature.  Removing a palm tree separates the men from the boys.


Great info! Now my wheels are turning!!

So I take it you have found that the roots still get plenty of drainage with those hole spacings?
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Post  sanderson 1/5/2015, 3:20 am

Mel Bartholomew recommends a 1" in the center of each square and one in each corner.  A raised box of 4' x 4' would equal 20 holes.  I wish I had drilled at least 3/4-1" holes instead of lots of 5/16".  Most of us use Mel's Mix so over watering is not a problem.  Mix of 2" of vermiculite, 2" of fluffed peat moss and 2" of quality, rich, 5-source compost (Not Kelloggs) = 6", and will grow 8' tall tomatoes and green pole beans. Very Happy

PS The table top immediately above is 4' x 2 1/2 feet.
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Post  sanderson 1/5/2015, 3:26 am

I just noticed the open-design cement blocks in your photo.  Those would make an excellent bed to place a sheet of plywood on.  Then set the boxes on the plywood and line with weed fabric so your mix won't fall through.  Don't worry if one of the drilled holes is over a section of cement.  I have boxes on flat cement pavers and the water drains just fine.  I had never thought to use those cement pieces.  Reminds of the brick and board book shelves in the 60's-70's.  Early marriage/college student Era. Peace
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Post  TSHRED 1/5/2015, 10:39 am

sanderson wrote:I just noticed the open-design cement blocks in your photo.  Those would make an excellent bed to place a sheet of plywood on.  Then set the boxes on the plywood and line with weed fabric so your mix won't fall through.  Don't worry if one of the drilled holes is over a section of cement.  I have boxes on flat cement pavers and the water drains just fine.  I had never thought to use those cement pieces.  Reminds of the brick and board book shelves in the 60's-70's.  Early marriage/college student Era.  Peace

I remember those bookshelves... lol. 

If I do raise these beds I'll use blocks. 
Are your beds the standard 6" depth?  They look deeper than that to me in the picture. 
I made mine from 2 x 8 's so they are effectively 7.5" deep.
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Post  sanderson 1/5/2015, 2:37 pm

TSHRED wrote:
I made mine from 2 x 8 's so they are effectively 7.5" deep.
Did you mean 2 x 4's = 7.5"?  I originally made boxes with two layers of 2 x 4s = 7.5".  I only use Mel's Mix to fill the beds, buckets, and pots.  It's labor intensive and expensive at the beginning but well worth it as you only replenish with compost each time you plant.  No fertilizer needed.  Then for design and mulching purposes, I added a third layer to some of the boxes = 10.5".  By then I had enough homemade compost to make more Mel's Mix to fill to 8-9".  The newest Table Top beds are only 7.5" deep with 6-6 1/2" of MM but the top rim is 24" off the ground.  Great for my back.  I plan to plant tomatoes in these 7.5" deep TT's.

Everyone has their own very personal journey.  For me, I have to consider how my neighbors' trees are shading more of my tiny back yard, where the sun shines at different times of the seasons, what I want to grow.  Whether the backyard looks pleasant verses a hoarder's farm.  My husband's tolerances, since he builds the boxes.  Very Happy  When I started in March 2013, I used Kellogg's compost for the 1/3 compost part (hey, it listed more than 5 ingredients, right?  Embarassed ) and spent the rest of the first summer trying to make up for it.  Then the root invasion became a reality (duh, it took me long enough) and I followed Camprn's lead in 2014 raising the boxes.  Jimmycee followed suit.  Dstack in Florida fights nematodes so he started out smart and built raised beds on top of rather high cement, brick and sand (?) "coffins."  And then there are the lucky folks (Yolos, AtlantaMarie and SouthernGardener come to mind) who have lots of open lawn area and no trees within 100', no bad nematodes, lots of sunshine in the garden area, rain to help supplement the watering, etc.  Lucky "people" (this is a family friendly Forum so I have to keep my wording pleasant) Very Happy
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Post  TSHRED 1/5/2015, 3:23 pm

I used 2x8. They measure 1.5 X 7.5 inches. 

I'll use the MM for the most part. If anyone knows a coarse vermiculite source here in North San Diego County coastal I'd love to hear it. 

A local hydro store has Fox Farm Ocean Forest mix on sale for $10 per 1.5cf bag. That's tempting.
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Post  sanderson 1/5/2015, 4:57 pm

Check out our Forum data base for sources (plus comments) of vermiculite. Also, Home Depot usually carries Medium grade.

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/Vermiculite-Entry-Form-h1.htm

[Fox Farm Ocean Forest mix on sale for $10 per 1.5cf bag] $$ Ouch! It contains peat moss (which is inexpensive stuff) which means you would have to reduce the amount of the 1/3 fluffed peat moss down to maybe 1/4. ?? Guesstimate. It does contain nitrogen sources (bat guano, worm casting and sea-sources) which is good. Ecoscraps (R) in the green bag is a decent compost to add to the 5-blend compost mix. It's $4.97 / cu. ft. It is made from well composted veggies and wood. You don't need to screen out the wood chips, rocks, glass, bottle caps, etc, like some compost or bagged manures. It's so fine that I make sure to add a little chunkier compost to the blend. Have you checked out Craig's List for a local source of fresh worm castings? Also, for aged (composted) horse manure. Chicken, llama or goat farmers who would be so happy to part with some of their poo?

.
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Post  TSHRED 1/5/2015, 6:42 pm

Thanks for all the great advice sanderson!
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Post  yolos 1/5/2015, 6:45 pm

sanderson wrote:
And then there are the lucky folks (Yolos, AtlantaMarie and SouthernGardener come to mind) who have lots of open lawn area and no trees within 100', no bad nematodes, lots of sunshine in the garden area, rain to help supplement the watering, etc.  Lucky "people" (this is a family friendly Forum so I have to keep my wording pleasant) Very Happy
Not quite true Sanderson.  No rain in the summer.  No sunshine in the garden area in the winter.  Lots of roots.  My garden starts about 30 feet (within the dripline) from this monster tree.  Yes, I am having to dig the roots out this year also.
Will landscape cloth stop roots? Dscn0211
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Post  TSHRED 1/5/2015, 7:10 pm

I'm just not too keen on driving all over getting soil together. I don't have a truck just a Honda CRV so bags it is.
Home Depot has Mel's Mix for 8.97 a bag.
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Post  Amethyst42 1/5/2015, 7:27 pm

I am going to take the advice on raising my beds. My SFGs are not near trees, but here in my part of Manitoba we have quackgrass (Elymus repens), which is even more invasive than tree roots. After one season the landscape fabric was breached.
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Post  sanderson 1/6/2015, 12:53 am

Amethyst,  From what some folks have written, it sounds like nasty stuff to combat.

Tshred,  A couple of storage totes in your car?  Premade Mel's Mix should be fine to start with.  You can buy one and open it.  See what you think of it.  Then buy more if you like it. That will buy you time to find sources of compost for when you replant your beds.
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Post  TSHRED 1/6/2015, 2:35 am

sanderson wrote:Amethyst,  From what some folks have written, it sounds like nasty stuff to combat.

Tshred,  A couple of storage totes in your car?  Premade Mel's Mix should be fine to start with.  You can buy one and open it.  See what you think of it.  Then buy more if you like it.  That will buy you time to find sources of compost for when you replant your beds.

The pre made mm isn't available at my home depot. I did order coarse vermiculite today from ULINE so that's a start.  Wink
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Post  sanderson 1/6/2015, 3:41 am

Lowes?  I was kind of serious about getting a couple clean toes with lids for your vehicle.  Last summer I kept a roll of garbage bags in the car in case I ran across something compostable.  You know, that banana peel someone in front of you throws out the window?   Very Happy  Now that I have a brand new car, I plan on buying 2 totes and a roll of 33 gallon tough garbage bags for the trunk.  Even if its just a 6-pack of flowers, it will keep the car clean.

A little garden humor:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t16644-only-a-gardener-would?highlight=a+gardener
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Post  sanderson 1/6/2015, 3:50 am

sanderson wrote:Lowes?  I was kind of serious about getting a couple clean toes with lids for your vehicle.  Last summer I kept a roll of garbage bags in the car in case I ran across something compostable.  You know, that banana peel someone in front of you throws out the window?   Very Happy  Now that I have a brand new car, I plan on buying 2 totes and a roll of 33 gallon tough garbage bags for the trunk.  Even if its just a 6-pack of flowers, it will keep the car clean.

A little garden humor:
https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t16644-only-a-gardener-would?highlight=a+gardener

https://squarefoot.forumotion.com/t5647-you-know-you-re-a-square-foot-gardener-when?highlight=a+gardener
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Post  AtlantaMarie 1/6/2015, 8:19 am

ULINE?  Really?  We've got an account with them...  I'll have to check this out...  Thanks, TShred!

Ouch, Amethyst!  I've heard the same about it being nasty stuff...  Please post pix as you go.

Yes, I've got lots of sun, no trees to deal with (although the boxwood my neighbors had still tries to send new ones up in my garden).  My biggest problem is grass right now. 

Had I thought a little more, I would have put something under the fencelines to block it and allow me to mow.  And since in some parts, there's 3 layers of fencing (chain-link & plastic hen fencing all around and window screen fabric where our neighbor's grass can come into the beds when they mow), it's an issue.

I know Mike's not going to want to take the boxes apart and pull them out to get this fixed...  And I really hate the thought of using RoundUp...

I'm open to suggestions!!!!!!
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Post  WardinWake 1/6/2015, 8:43 am

TSHRED wrote:
sanderson wrote:Amethyst,  From what some folks have written, it sounds like nasty stuff to combat.

Tshred,  A couple of storage totes in your car?  Premade Mel's Mix should be fine to start with.  You can buy one and open it.  See what you think of it.  Then buy more if you like it.  That will buy you time to find sources of compost for when you replant your beds.

The pre made mm isn't available at my home depot. I did order coarse vermiculite today from ULINE so that's a start.  Wink
Have you checked this forum's Vermiculite Database?  If not scroll down on the Home page until you reach the database and click on it and follow the links.  God Bless, Ward and Mary.
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