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RE: Summer Heat


Title: RE: Summer Heat

Jim,

This is a technique to fight tree roots that I had heard about from somewhere (maybe this forum?).

In the container-grown nursery stock industry one of the hottest items (based on advertising) is plastic containers in which the interior is coated or impregnated with a copper compound. When the plant roots hit the edge of the pot, they stop growing due to the copper and instead grow more lateral roots. Plants grown in these pots do not have spirals of roots after several years as do the ones grown in non-coated pots.

Another idea is to plant in bags of non-woven material (like weedblock) coated on the inside with the copper compound called Spin-Out (tm). Works the same way as the plastic pots.

Where this works for hostas planted amongst tree roots, you dig a hole, put one of the bags coated with Spin-Out(tm) in the hole INSIDE-OUT so the copper compound is on the OUTSIDE. Fill with dirt and plant the hosta. When the tree roots hit the bag, they stop growing. What I don't know is how long the bags last in the ground and the size of the largest bags. I believe the material is also available by the yard so you could make it as big as you want.

I haven't tried this myself so I can't vouch for the effectiveness. Anyone have experience with this method?

Thanks!

Norm Lesch
Manchester, MD

      -----Original Message-----
      From:   Jim Hawes [mailto:hawesj@gcnet.net]
      Sent:   Monday, May 31, 1999 1:32 PM
      To:     LakesideRM@aol.com; hosta-open@mallorn.com
      Cc:     hawesj@gcnet.net
      Subject:        Re: Summer Heat

      Mary,

      I have a few hostas also that don't seem to grow...that seem to go
      backwards at times, becoming smaller and smaller. I decided I would go
      out and dig a few to see what may be happening below ground level.

      I selected about four different cultivars  where some of the plants
      appeared normal but beside them were one or two plants  that were
      stunted, dwarfed or call it what you will. In the case of all stunted
      plants I dug up, the root mass consisted of about half fiberous tree
      roots entangled with the smaller volume of hosta roots. By washing the
      roots one can see how many tree roots are really there. It became
      obvious to me what was causing the problerm in MY garden...tree root
      competion for moisture ( and also nutrients) was the culprit. It is a
      soil micro-environmental phenomenon. Hosta plants two feet away from
      this condition were normal and vigorous. No roots penetrated into their
      root mass and they were growing well.

      I dug up representative dwarf plants of several cultivars where I had
      normal and dwarf plants growing close together. In all cases, the
      dwarfism seemed to be a result of tree roots penetrating the hosta root
      mass.

      What to do about it? Cut away all tree roots possible, redig the hole
      and make it larger, add soil amendments to the hole, replant the dwarf
      plant, use good soil for backfilling the hole after planting, fertilize
      and water well and see if this rescues the dwarf plant in a state of
      decline to one with  improved, renewed vigor. Now that I have
      experienced this myself, I plan to re-prepare the planting holes and
      replant all those dwarf plants so affected. Why don't you try this on a
      few plants to see if it works for you? I'll bet it will.

      Jim

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