Invasive clumps of roots

Asked July 8, 2014, 6:35 PM EDT

I do raised bed gardening and my beds are filled with what I would call "invasive clumps of roots". The interesting part is they are not attached to any plant or tree, but the soil is bound to it like it's a living root. Im trying to fiqure out what it is. My fear is that it is stealing water and nutrients from my vegetable plants. Can you help me please?

Wayne County Michigan

1 Response

Without knowing what plant these roots belong to, it will be difficult to know exactly how to get rid of them. It sounds like you feel these roots are alive, being soft and flexible, not dry and brittle. Dead roots will eventually decompose in the soil. If they are dry and brittle and you really want them out, the only way I know of to get rid of them would be to manually sift them out of the soil.

If the roots are indeed alive, and they try to resprout, then using an herbicide would probably be the only way to get rid of them. I’m not aware of any plant that lives beneath the soil without emerging. Live roots will steal the water and nutrients from any other plants you may put there.

Adding compost would be a benefit, also mulch your vegetables after planting them.

You didn’t mention where you got the soil. If there is, indeed, invasive plant roots in the soil, it might be best to remove all the soil and replace it with a good, clean garden soil purchased from a reputable company.

Below are a few websites you can check out which may give you an idea as to how to handle this problem:

Hope this was helpful. Feel free to contact us again if you have further questions.