English laurel in vegetable garden

Asked September 14, 2020, 11:55 AM EDT

We recently found that English laurel is poisonous.. we cut down some english laurels to ground level and laid landscaping fabric over the top of the stumps and made a raised vegetable garden bed around them and planted cucumbers and sweet peas around them in hopes that they would not grow back. The laurels grew back right through the landscaping fabric and the vegetables. My question is: if the laurel root system inter twines with the vegetable root systems or due to their proximity to the laurels can they poison the vegetables or make them poisonous or harmful to eat. Kinda like planting carrots to close to radishes can make carrots a little spicy.

Snohomish County Washington

1 Response

Most organic compounds are degraded or strongly bound to organic matter in soil, making it unavailable to plants. Even heavy metals, which plants sometimes take up because plants WILL take up metals, don't usually get taken up by the plants for those reasons. Just because toxic plant roots are nearby, it doesn't mean that the vegetable plants will take in any possible toxins. Plants are programmed to do what they do, and stuff in the soil that can't be used by that plant won't be taken in by the roots or used by the plant. Let's use the tomato plant as an example of how close the toxic and non-toxic plant parts can be. Tomato plants are genetically programmed to have toxic leaves, but on the same plant--on the same branch--we get non-toxic and nutritious tomato fruit. The veggies growing in under your English Laurel should be fine. Incidentally--carrots really don't pick up the "spice" from nearby radishes :-)