My, what big roots you have!

christinmk z5b eastern WAApril 13, 2011

Jeepers! I went out to do some things in the garden today, and one of the first projects was digging out a Virginia Creeper that had become a problem. Look at how long they are! Must be five feet at the longest (and that wasn't the end- an extra two feet had to be cut off that was under the fence).

Thankfully the soil is very soft now and it wasn't too much work getting out.


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VERY nasty, invasive stuff is VC. It climbs my 100 ft. tall oak trees every year but I just take the lopping shears and whack it off at ground level so the upper part dies from lack of water & nutrients. The dogwoods are near the oaks but the VC never goes anywhere near those--wonder if there's something toxic about them the vine naturally avoids? It will also spread out across the road pavement but traffic takes care of that. I haven't tried digging it out but have used vinegar as a weed killer a few times and that's another non-toxic method of keeping it from spreading.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:13PM
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I have some roots that are as thick as my arm.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 7:46PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-gardenweed, it was starting to climb the back trees too, which is why I wanted it gone! Those roots kept going and going, around the quince shrub, thru the lamium patch, under the fence, it was incredible. Thanks for the info on vinegar. I don't use chemicals and have been looking for a good alternative!

-Christine, that sounds huge!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 11:42AM
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CMK - I don't use chemicals either but would offer a word of caution about vinegar as a weed killer--it isn't particular and will kill everything it touches, including worms. I use it along walkways and around the edges of flowerbeds but with the full knowledge that it kills a few beneficial garden critters in addition to weeds. It also washes away with rain and must be reapplied when the weeds grow back but I like the sound of "It washes away with rain."

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 7:13PM
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gottagarden(z5 western NY)

Whoa! That looks like quite a project to dig that out!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 6:32AM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Holy Cow! What a monster! Good thing the soil was soft. I would imagine after a chore like that all I'd want to do is sit and sip some iced tea and call it a day!

I hope you don't mind my adding a "root" story to yours. I had a bunch of cotoneaster on my front slope when we first moved into the house. Well, after 4 years or so I was just so bored with it I decided it all had to go. We had about 8 huge shrubs out there. We cut the branches off them to make them easier to work with, so there were just a bunch of stubs up top. Then we got to work on getting the roots out. It was the hardest thing we ever dug up (and we had 8 of them to do). Well, we wound up cutting up the roots as we were pulling and pulling in order to get it out. The main "stump" was about 8" around. When we finally pulled it out, it looked exactly like the Mandrake Roots in the first Harry Potter movie!! We were hysterically laughing as we held up this contorted root-thingy and thinking of the screaming Mandrake roots. So of course we had to start screaming for the fun of it and then the neighbors really knew we were weird gardeners! Sorry for being long-winded but your big root really brought back fond memories of that grueling work, but ultimately fun day.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:18PM
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christinmk z5b eastern WA

-gardenweed, thanks for the heads up on the vinegar!

-Susan, What a funny story! It's ALIVE!!! LOL. The folklore behind the plant IS kind fun isn't it?! I read a long time ago that in the olden times it was believed whoever dug it up would die from the screams. So it was suggested that one should tie an end of thread to the plant and the other to a dog so it would pull it up instead of the human. LOL.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 11:58PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

That's quite the root! I sometimes worry a bit about the wisterias. I know I'd never be able to remove them now. I've read about ones in China where the roots cover an acre or more of ground! There are a lot of plants like that I think. I gather some aspen forests are basically one or two trees that cloned themselves from the roots... VC is probably in the same sort of category.

On the horticultural vinegar issue - I worry about what using that would do to the pH of the soil. It might be fine for a while if you wanted acidic soil but if you used it a lot, I'd guess it could be damaging for a lot of things. Also, if you start with alkaline soil, you might end up with an accumulation of salts since acid + base = salt + water usually if I remember my basic chemistry corectly...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2011 at 12:21PM
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