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Thread: How to remove deep roots of reeds in new overgrown allotment

  1. #17
    veggiechicken's Avatar
    veggiechicken is offline Gardening Guru
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    May 2006
    Sunshiny South Wales
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    Just a thought - would rotovating the plot and chopping up the roots result in even more little reeds growing - as it does with couch grass?
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  2. #18
    bikermike is offline Cropper
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    Nov 2017
    North London frontier


    one other thought - plats need light to grow. They can store some energy in their roots, but overall growth "costs" the plant energy that it needs to replenish via sunshine. The more you deny it light, the less it can grow.

    Where you can't dig it out, can you cover it?
    Also, although plans *can* grow deep roots, they are more of a long-term cost that near-surface roots that put shoots up quickly. So even a foot-deep barrier in the soil will *slow* (no promises as to stop) sideways growth.

    what I would do is to do one area properly (dig as far as you can, get it all out), then do the rest a bit and cover it, extending the weed barrier as far below the surface as you can. This *should* mean that it will be slower to grow back in the areas you are planting in, so you can keep on top of it with frequent weeding/hoeing. The covering and barriers means that the weed in the other areas isn't in "profit" and so won't have the same vigour when trying to invade (and the barrier makes it harder).

    Then you can dig another bit out when you have the first bit settled down. Marking it out into beds seems to me to make it easier to weed methodically
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  3. #19
    nickdub is offline Early Fruiter
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    Jul 2017


    Hi VC,
    Yes it will do, if you only do it once - the key to using a rotovator to clearing ground like this is to plan on doing 6 or 7 sessions over 3 or 4 months when the ground is at its driest. If you want to speed things up, then forking over the rotovated ground and raking off weed roots will obviously help.

    Its a trade-off between your time, hard work, money etc., and obviously the size of the plot you want to tackle has a bearing on the economics of it too.



  4. #20
    Snoop Puss's Avatar
    Snoop Puss is offline Mature Fruiter
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    Is it a council-run site? If so, take them photos so they can see what you're up against.
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  5. #21
    ESBkevin is offline Cropper
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    Jun 2015
    Mid Suffolk


    I'm going to suggest you remove what is obvious then use double thick black plastic over everything. You could wait until some growth and apply some systemic weed killer on the leaves first. Write off growing anything there for this year and prepare it for next. Once you start growing if any shoots appear just apply vinegar/ascetic acid to those as a safe way to kill new growth. In time you will tame the weeds/rushes but the wet conditions will require a different approach. One advantage of the roots perishing in situ is that that leaves drainways in the sub soil. Lots (and I mean lots) of organic matter (wood chip etc.) will slowly open up the soil structure making it less of a problem to work. You might need to put in a drain if the area floods frequently/seasonally.

  6. #22
    Snadger's Avatar
    Snadger is offline Dundiggin
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    Aug 2006
    Durham. Pink Panther territory


    I think I would spade off the top and after a soil test (which I assume would be very acid, even down to 4.00 Ph ) give a heavy dressing of lime. As far as i know reeds grow in acid wet conditions so they would curl up there toes if the Ph was raissd to neutral? I wouldn't normally advocate rotovating but if the liime did the job and the reeds died, it would probably be a solution and still allow you to keep the decayed organic matter within the soil.
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  7. #23
    samski is offline Germinator
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    Jan 2018


    Many thanks all for responses. My plan based on feedback from here and elsewhere is to dig down a few feet in sections where I'll have beds, remove as much of the roots as poss, test ph and possibly use lime, lay Terram side and bottom and then raised beds ridge system on top with gutter. Also contacted the council and asked for a year rent free and to be put on list for other plots.
    Appreciate that covering it for a year, use of rotavator and other suggestions might be best way forward but keen to get stuck in (said the foolhardy man) and see how it goes!...

    Any other advice welcome.

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