PESTY ROOTS

(Question)

We have 4 old fruit trees in our yard that provide plenty of shade and privacy during the summer. This area has become quite a problem with what I think are trees (weeds) growing off the roots of these very mature fruit trees. I’m wanting to dig up these monsters since they are starting to get out of control. I’ve heard and read about drilling into the base and injecting them with bleach or weed killer. My question is would this procedure affect the fruit tree roots? Is this the best method of doing this?

(Answer)

A weed is any plant that is growing where you do not want it to grow. Weeds can be categorized into 2 different groups, annual and perennial. Annual weeds are those that completes its life cycle in a single growing season. perennial weeds live longer than one growing season and produce seeds more than once.

Weeds hamper the growth and productivity of fruit trees because they compete for water, nutrients , sunlight and space in the root zone area. A large patch of weeds around a fruit tree can shorten the length of yearly shoot growth and also decreses the quanity and size of fruit set.

As always organic weed controls are always a better alternative than the use of synthtic herbicides when dealing with edible plants. Weed killers and bleach will be taken up by the root system and you run the risk of these synthetic chemicals being incorporated into your edible fruit.  A thick layer ( 10 cm) of biogradable mulch contols weeds by blocking the weed seeds exposure to sunlight. Mulches provide many other benefits, it prevents soil erosion,  it increases the amount of organic matter in the soil, helps retain moisture and thus reduces water consumption, and improves soil structure.

You might like to refer to a similar question that was posted on our website : Organic Vegetable Gardening . this question provides links to many of our gardening guides on Organic Gardening.

Good Luck